Kendra Shank is "a superbly skilled vocalist" (New York Times) with a "delectable voice" (Time magazine) and "breathtakingly original concept" (Boston Globe). Her inventive phrasing, soulful storytelling, and spontaneous ensemble interplay, make each performance a creative, in- the-moment experience that entrances and inspires audiences. Headlining at festivals, concerts, and clubs across the U.S. and internationally, Shank combines jazz originals, standards, world music, French chansons, folk/pop songs, and open improvisation in an adventurous, genre-bending style that inspired Abbey Lincoln to call her “an original; a singer with a sound.”
Kendra Shank's six critically acclaimed CDs have garnered numerous "Best of the Year" awards, DownBeat poll recognition, and international airplay. "Afterglow" (Mapleshade Records, 1994), was co-produced by jazz legend Shirley Horn, who presented Shank at the Village Vanguard for her New York debut. Her second album, "Wish" (Jazz Focus Records, 1998), received a Time magazine rave, declaring: "Get in on the ground floor: this lady is going up." "Reflections" (Jazz Focus Records, 1998) debuted her current working band, an ensemble of New York all-stars with pianist Frank Kimbrough (Maria Schneider Orchestra), bassist Dean Johnson (Gerry Mulligan), and drummer Tony Moreno (Dave Liebman), who are featured on her two subsequent recordings. Shank’s ground-breaking "A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook" (Challenge Records, 2007) pays tribute to that legendary singer’s importance as a songwriter. "Mosaic" (Challenge Records, 2009), is credited to the “Kendra Shank Quartet” in recognition of the collaborative nature of her band who “have spent [over] a decade tightening their exemplary unit, and the triumph of their solidity is evident throughout this stunningly inventive pastiche of covers and originals” (Jazz Times).
In 2014 Shank's duo project with guitarist John Stowell, "New York Conversations," was released on TCB (The Montreux Jazz Label). Featuring original compositions, standards, and free improvisations utilizing vocal electronic looping, the album was called "magical...ingenious...original" by The Wall Street Journal. Her next album will be a live concert recorded in duo with pianist Geoffrey Keezer.
A prominent figure on New York’s jazz scene, Shank has headlined at the city’s premier venues, including: Blue Note, Birdland, Jazz Standard, Iridium, Kitano, and a 12- year residency at the historic 55 Bar. She has toured across the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Canada, with festival performances at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz, JVC Jazz, Jazz Port Townsend, Bumbershoot, Calgary Jazz, Edmonton Jazz, Wangaratta Jazz, Jazz in Marciac, Jazz à Vienne, and Jazz is Toulon, among many others. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s JazzSet and Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, and Radio France’s Transcontinentales (with a college degree in French and Art, Kendra is bilingual and Paris was her second home for several years).