Canadian vocalist Maureen Kennedy developed her love for jazz in her early twenties when she studied for six years with Canadian flugelhorn and trumpet player Fred Stone, renowned for his work with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus in the 1960’s. The clarity of her tonality, her restrained use of vibrato and unaffected vocal style developed under his tutelage.
Through the years she has cultivated an extensive repertoire of memorable standards and rediscovered gems that compliment her very personal sound and reflect her musical curiosity. This is evident in her debut recording This Is Always, produced by renowned Canadian bassist Kieran Overs. Maureen is accompanied on the recording by Kieran Overs, pianist Nancy Walker and drummer Anthony Michelli. It features a selection of classic standards as well as rarely recorded compositions by Billy Strayhorn, Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke and Alec Wilder.
After its Canadian release, This Is Always was accepted by the Baldwin Street Music label, run for 25-years by producer and jazz historian Ted Ono. Ted has said this about Maureen: “To me, the most striking aspect of her singing is her approach. Maureen is straightforward, understated, and sincere in everything she does. She’s completely free of mannerism and artifice”.
Baldwin Street Music released This Is Always in the U.S. in 2006. The recording was played on several NPR jazz shows, the New Orleans Jazz station WWOZ, and the nationally syndicated, Public Radio International program, Jazz After Hours.
Maureen recently completed the recording of her second CD at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with the assistance of CBC engineer Ron Searles and producer Ted Ono. The CD features a quartet of accomplished Canadian jazz musicians: Reg Schwager (guitar); Steve Wallace (bass); Mike Murley (saxophone); and Andrew Millar (drums.)
Maureen’s vast musical knowledge has been put to great use in her work as a Media Librarian and visual researcher for the CBC in Toronto. In her job she catalogues archival arts, music and entertainment programming, which has given her insight into Canadian jazz history.
This past summer she did two nights at The Cellar in Vancouver with saxophonist Cory Weeds, guitarist Bill Coon, bassist Andre Lachance, and drummer Andrew Millar. Mr. Weeds was so impressed with Maureen’s choice of repertoire that he is recording two rare standards Maureen sings in an upcoming recording he is doing with pianist David Hazeltine.
“My favourite Toronto vocalist is Maureen Kennedy …I never miss a Maureen Kennedy performance. “ Sybil Walker, former manager at Top of the Senator jazz club.
"Too often we heap praise on an artist. In the case of Maureen Kennedy, it is not often enough,. Ethereal, soulful and a singular voice that is immediate in its impact and timeless in its breadth. Maureen Kennedy is that rarest of things, a jazz singer."