Photo © Mars Breslow
Vocalist Mary Stallings grew up in the Bay Area, and started singing as a child. She began her jazz career in Bay Area clubs during her teenage years, when she performed with Louis Jordan's Tympani Five and shared the stage with such greats as Wes Montgomery and Ben Webster.
She made her professional recording debut on Cal Tjader’s 1961 album, Cal Tjader Plays, Mary Stallings Sings. During the 1960s, Mary also performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine, and first appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1965 at Dizzy’s request. From 1969-1972, she performed with the Count Basie Orchestra as a featured singer, and in the early ‘70s, she took time off to raise a family. Her daughter, R&B singer Adriana Evans, has also released three albums as a solo artist.
In the late ‘80s she began to perform publicly, and since 1990, she has recorded nine albums as a leader for the Concord, MaxJazz and Half Note labels, including Manhattan Moods, Live at the Village Vanguard, and Remember Love.
Since reclaiming the spotlight, Mary has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1995 and 2003 to a packed houses. Mary was also a 2006 SFJAZZ Beacon Award recipient, given to an artist who has played a vital role in preserving the tradition and fostered the growth of jazz in the Bay Area.
The New York Times has called Mary Stallings “perhaps the best jazz singer alive today” and the San Francisco Chronicle said that “…Stallings’ voice is supple and timeless, encompassing the whole history of music.”