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Marlena Shaw

Marlena Shaw (born Marlina Burgess, September 22, 1942, New Rochelle, New York) is an American singer. A versatile and charismatic jazz vocalist, Shaw began her singing career in the 1960s and is still singing today.

Shaw was first introduced to music by her uncle Jimmy Burgess, a jazz trumpet player, citing the influence of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis records, along with Al Hibbler and various gospel music. In 1952, Burgess brought her on stage at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to sing with his band. Shaw's mother did not want Marlena to go on tour with her uncle at such a yo ...read more

Marlena Shaw (born Marlina Burgess, September 22, 1942, New Rochelle, New York) is an American singer. A versatile and charismatic jazz vocalist, Shaw began her singing career in the 1960s and is still singing today.

Shaw was first introduced to music by her uncle Jimmy Burgess, a jazz trumpet player, citing the influence of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis records, along with Al Hibbler and various gospel music. In 1952, Burgess brought her on stage at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to sing with his band. Shaw's mother did not want Marlena to go on tour with her uncle at such a young age and instead enrolled her into the New York State Teachers College in Potsdam (now known as the State University of New York at Potsdam) to study music. She later dropped out of school, got married, and had five children, but never gave up her singing career.

Shaw began to make singing appearances in jazz clubs whenever she could spare the time. The most notable of these appearances was in 1963 when she worked with jazz trumpeter Howard McGhee. Her career took off in 1966 when she landed a gig with the Playboy Club chain in Chicago. It was through this gig that she met with representatives of the Chess Records music label, and soon signed with them. She released her first two albums on their subsidiary Cadet Records. A 1969 album track 'California Soul' a pop-soul tune written by Ashford & Simpson and originally issued as a single by American pop quintet The Fifth Dimension later became a staple of the UK rare groove scene and following its use in a TV advert in the 2000s' is now her best known recording in the UK. Unable to find her own style at Chess she moved to the jazz orientated Blue Note Records in 1972.

In 1977 she released an LP 'Sweet Beginnings' on Columbia that contained, arguably, Shaw's finest moment 'Yu Ma / Go Away Little Boy', which was a medley,containing the old Goffin and Carole King standard, originally recorded by Nancy Wilson. The album also contained the track 'Look At Me, Look At You', popular on the U.K. rare groove scene. She also recorded one of the disco era's biggest hits - a remake of 'Touch Me in the Morning' also on Columbia Records.

In 1982 Marlena recorded the haunting Gary Taylor ballad called 'Without You In My Life' from the LP 'Let Me In Your Life' that was jointly produced by Johnny Bristol and Webster Lewis on South Bay records. This had moderate chart success in the USA. In 1983, she recorded the vocals for 'Could It Be You', a track by Phil Upchurch on his Name Of The Game album.

Shaw still performs and records today. Her performances are marked by an artful blend of pop standards and straight-ahead jazz tunes. « hide


LPs
The Spice Of Life
1969

3.5
1 Votes
Out of Different Bags
1967

Compilations
Anthology
2000

4
1 Votes

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