Critically acclaimed Jazz Vocalist & Recording Artist, touring internationally.
Kendra Shank is considered "one of the most interesting, creative jazz
singers of her generation" (All About Jazz) with a "delectable voice"
(Time magazine) and "breathtakingly original concept" (Boston Globe).
Her inventive phrasing, rich polychromatic tone, and spontaneous
ensemble interplay make each performance an explosion of creativity
that entrances and inspires audiences. Headlining at festivals,
concerts, and clubs across the U.S. and internationally, Shank
combines jazz originals, standards, world music, folk/pop songs, and
open improvisation in an adventurous, genre-bending style that
inspired Gary Giddins to call her "one of New York's most original
performers" (Jazz Times).
Kendra Shank's five critically acclaimed CDs have won numerous “Best
of the Year” awards and DownBeat poll recognition. Afterglow
(Mapleshade Records, 1994), was co-produced by jazz legend Shirley
Horn, who also invited Shank to perform as her guest at the Village
Vanguard in New York. Kendra’s 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, bassist Dean Johnson, and
drummer Tony Moreno, who are featured on her subsequent recordings.
Shank’s ground-breaking A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook
(Challenge Records, 2007) pays tribute to that legendary vocalist’s
importance as a songwriter. Her most recent release, Mosaic
(Challenge Records, 2009), is credited to the “Kendra Shank Quartet”
in recognition of the collaborative nature of her band who “have spent
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).
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, The Kitano, and a 9-year residency at the historic
55 Bar. She has toured across the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Africa,
Australia, and Canada, with performances at JVC Jazz Festival,
Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, Jazz Port Townsend Festival,
Calgary Jazz Festival, Edmonton Jazz Festival, Wangaratta Jazz
Festival, Jazz in Marciac Festival, and Jazz à Vienne Festival, among
many others. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s JazzSet
and Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, as well as Radio France’s
Transcontinentales (with a college degree in French and Art, Kendra is
bilingual and Paris was her second home for several years).
Kendra Shank’s “unique and immediately identifiable sound and style”
(LA Times) is partly due to her eclectic background: she has been a
theatre actress, a visual artist, and began her music career as a
singer-guitarist performing folk, country, bluegrass, and French
chansons before her passion turned to jazz. Fueled by curiosity and
the thrill of exploration, she approaches music as “sound painting,”
using her voice to create colors, shapes, and textures, always pushing
her art forward. She has performed and/or recorded with a host of
renowned artists, including: Abbey Lincoln (as guest guitarist on
Lincoln’s Over the Years CD), Bob Dorough, Jay Clayton, Fred Hersch,
Geoffrey Keezer, Larry Willis, Victor Lewis, Matt Wilson, Bobby
Watson, Gary Bartz, Billy Drewes, Donny McCaslin, Ben Allison,
Francois Moutin, Ben Monder, Peter Leitch, and Mark Lamb Dance. She
has taught clinics at University of North Carolina, The New School,
Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music, McNally Smith College of Music,
Seasons Performance Hall, and Jazz in Marciac Festival.