Maureen has cultivated an extensive repertoire of memorable standards and rediscovered gems that compliment her very personal sound. Kennedy developed her love for jazz in her early twenties when she studied for six years with Canadian flugelhorn and trumpet player Fred Stone. The purity of her sound and her restrained use of vibrato developed under his tutelage.
Through the years Ms. Kennedy has performed at numerous venues and arts events in and around the city of Toronto with many of Canada’s accomplished jazz players. This past summer she went to Vancouver for the first time and sang two nights at the Cory Weeds Cellar Jazz Club with a group that included Vancouver saxophonist Cory Weeds and guitarist Bill Coon.
Her debut recording This Is Always features a selection of classic standards including rarely recorded compositions by Billy Strayhorn, Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke, and Alec Wilder. In addition, the arranging talents of pianist Nancy Walker are showcased in covers of two folk songs written by Nick Drake and Sandy Denny. Including Nancy Walker, accompanying Maureen on the recording are Kieran Overs (double bass) and Anthony Michelli (drums.)
Ted Ono, the producer of Out of the Shadows, her sophomore CD release says, “Discerning listeners should find Maureen Kennedy’s warm, round and resonant sound both delightful and refreshing. She sings with understatement while still retaining her jazz identity… What she and her four accomplished accompanists successfully achieve here is the art of good mainstream jazz, the kind listeners find both comforting and enticing.”
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.
“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.” Ralph Benmergui, Canadian television and radio personality, formerly with the CBC and Jazz FM 91.1