Mary-Catherine Pazzano

Mary-Catherine Pazzano

Kitchener, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Kitchener, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Jazz Broadway




""You're Gonna Hear From Me" Album Review"

A talented jazz and ballad singer based in Ontario, Canada, Mary-Catherine Pazzano has an attractive high voice and a subtle improvising style. While she is involved in jazz education (founding and directing both Jazz In The Schools and Jazz For Adults), she is also very active as a performer. You’re Gonna Hear From Me is her debut CD as a leader.

Ms. Pazzano is joined on the project by pianist Don Buchanan, bassist Pat Collins, drummer Steve James and occasionally Jason Hunter on tenor and soprano. Each of the musicians consistently gives her sympathetic support with occasional brief solos.

The set begins with a welcome revival of the title cut. “You’re Gonna Hear From Me.” The Andre Previn song from the movie Inside Daisy Clover perfectly fits the singer’s pretty voice and her wide range. She next performs the lesser-known Harry Warren ballad “Friendly Star” and a warm piece that she co-composed with Don Buchanan, “A Simple Conversation.” “All the Things You Are” is given an unusual but effective treatment, starting out with some wordless classical-type singing that makes the piece sound as if it was written by Bach before the familiar melody emerges.

While the emphasis on the program is on thoughtful ballads, there are a few exceptions, most notably a happily swinging version of “It’s De-Lovely” that includes some fine tenor playing. Her version of Jobim’s “How Insensitive” has a mysterious and haunting feeling to it that is quite atmospheric. A tender rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “River” precedes a fine version of “Charade” (which has a bit of Ms. Pazzano’s scatting) and the Bergman’s thoughtful ballad “Alone In The World,” both of which are performed tastefully.

The last three performances on the CD are among the set’s highpoints. A logical medley of “Manhattan” and “New York State Of Mind” goes from sweet to bluesy. “I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me” is a real swinger that cooks. Then, for a closing surprise, Ms. Pazzano sings one chorus of the sad and quietly dramatic “A Cottage For Sale” as an unaccompanied vocal.

You’re Gonna Hear From Me is an excellent debut from a singer who, indeed, much more will be heard from in the future.

Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76 - Scott Yanow

""You're Gonna Hear From Me""

You’re Gonna Hear From Me
Mary-Catherine Pazzano
Glorious Feeling Records

On her debut release, elegant chanteuse Mary-Catherine Pazzano has not only shown exceptional good taste in presenting 12 fine compositions from musical theatre, film and the Great American Songbook, but she has also conscripted a superb lineup of musical collaborators, including Don Buchanan on piano (also co-producer), Jason Hunter on saxophones, Pat Collins on bass and Steve James on drums. Arranged and produced by Pazzano, she has selectively dipped into the catalogues of venerable composers such as Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Harry Warren, Cole Porter, Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer as well as contemporary artists, Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel.

First up is the stirring (and rarely performed) title track, written for the cult film Inside Daisy Clover starring Natalie Wood. Pazzano shines throughout with energy and luscious tone, as she soars with her quartet. Buchanan and Pazzano have included one well-written original composition, A Simple Conversation – which has the potential to become a contemporary jazz standard. Another standout is Mancini and Mercer’s Charade, from the hit movie of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn. Haunting and languid, this tune is set as perfectly as a Tiffany solitaire – with a many-faceted voice/bass section in front, followed by an up-tempo sequence and fine bass solo from Collins.

Pazzano possesses a gorgeous, classically trained contralto voice capable of projecting the full gamut of emotions, as well as an uncanny skill with rendering the lyrics of current music, jazz standards and show tunes. A fine opening salvo!
--Lesley Mitchell-Clarke - The WholeNote Magazine

"Musical women in the spotlight at Registry Theatre show Friday"

Busy with many projects of their own, local musicians Joni NehRita and Mary-Catherine Pazzano had talked about collaborating, but never got around to it. Until now, that is.
Better still, they’ll be using their March 9 concert at the Registry Theatre to pay tribute to the many women – singers and songwriters – who influenced their own talents and careers.

“We want to honour those artists that paved the way for us,” says Pazzano of the impetus for the show, dubbed Women Music Revolutionaries. The concept stemmed from a shared gig that allowed the friends to catch up and actually put some details to the idea that ‘we should do something together.’

“Joni and I looked at artists who were influential to us,” says Pazzano. “I grew up loving film. I was exposed to jazz in all those old musicals – Cole Porter and Irving Berlin – and then from there the jazz music of Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé. Joni has some of the same influence and some of her own … like Nina Simone. “We wanted to pay tribute to people like that.”

The show will feature songs by the likes Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Astrud Gilberto, and singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Dory Previn.

“Every song that we’ve chosen has some kind of personal connection,” she says.
That includes Pazzano’s longstanding fascination with Judy Garland.

“My mother tells me I was transfixed in front of the television any time the Wizard of Oz was on. As an infant, the only thing that got me to quiet down was a music box playing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’” she laughs.“I’m definitely paying homage to her with this.”

From those influences, both performers took a musical path that includes formal studies and, now, time as musical educators in their own right.

Pazzano is a classically trained contralto, with a vocal range that can cover the gamut of emotions. She released her debut studio album, You’re Gonna Hear From Me, last fall.
A Guelph-based singer-songwriter and keyboard player, Nehrita has become a fan favourite for her takes on soul, R&B, jazz and popular song. With three albums under her belt, she’s working on a fourth that’s expected this summer.

For Friday’s concert, the two will be backed by Don Buchanan on piano, Thomas Hammerton on piano, Pat Collins on bass and Dave O’Neill on drums. They’ll be serving up the likes of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and jazz standards with new arrangements written specifically for Pazzano, NehRita and their special guests, the Penderecki String Quartet.

That the show falls in close proximity to International Women’s Day (March 8) and the awareness of the #MeToo movement makes the timing just that more poignant, notes Pazzano.

The Women Music Revolutionaries show takes place at the Registry Theatre, 122 Frederick St. in Kitchener, on March 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, available by calling 519-578-1570, or online at - Observer

"Jazz Vocalist Mary-Catherine Pazzano Featured In This Month’s Christ Church Concert"

On Sunday, June 24, Christ Church Anglican in Meaford continues its series of monthly Sunday concerts with jazz vocalist Mary-Catherine Pazzano.

A rising star known for her interpretations of jazz standards, Mary-Catherine will be performing with Don Buchanan on piano, Clark Johnston on bass, Jason Hunter on sax and Steve James on drums. Three of these performers joined her on her debut album, You’re Gonna Hear From Me, released last year and winning international accolades.

Don Buchanan is a well-respected local jazz musician who has been the organist at St. Mary’s Church in Owen Sound for twenty-five years.

“He’s the most underrated musician in my opinion,” says Tony Bauer, who is a central figure in the Thornbury jazz scene. “He’s a composer, arranger. He plays clarinet, he plays tenor, piano; he’s a wonderful musician.”

He has done extensive work as a saxophonist and clarinetist and has composed and arranged many big band and jazz combo works, as well as compositions and arrangements as music director for Owen Sound Little Theatre. Drawn to the talent of Kitchener-based Pazzano, he has focused more recently on collaborating with her to help develop a promising career. Together they composed one song on her debut album, A Simple Conversation, the first single released. It is a tune placed solidly in the tradition of the Great American Songbook and was lauded by critics as having “the potential to become a contemporary jazz standard”. The remainder of her album features the compositions of venerable composers such as Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Harry Warren, Cole Porter, Henry Mancini, and Johnny Mercer, as well as contemporary artists Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel. The album has received radio airplay on JazzFM, CBC, community and commercial radio stations across Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and nationally syndicated U.S. shows in Florida, California, and Minnesota. Songs from the album have also been added to CBC’s worldwide Jazz Songbook Stream on

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke of The WholeNote Magazine said in her December 2017 review of the album, “Pazzano shines throughout with energy and luscious tone, as she soars with her quartet. Pazzano possesses a gorgeous, classically trained contralto voice capable of projecting the full gamut of emotions, as well as an uncanny skill with rendering the lyrics of current music, jazz standards and show tunes.” Her repertoire also includes standards by Duke Ellington, Harburg/Arlen, Rodgers/Hart, and Antônio Carlos Jobim.

Mary-Catherine has made a name for herself in our area, as a regular performer at Collingwood's Jazz at the Library series, Southampton United Church's Jazz Series, and as headliner with the Canadian Big Band Celebration in Port Elgin. When she performed songs made famous by Ella Fitzgerald in a special concert in 2017, the Thornbury Paper’s founder and writer Jon Svec noted that she “enthralled throughout the entire show” before bringing the audience to its feet for two final ovations.

This concert is the third presented by Christ Church Anglican, dedicated to bringing high quality classical and jazz performances to downtown Meaford. The first show was a sellout which brought saxophonist Patricia Wheeler back to where her musical education started at Meaford Elementary School. Last month’s performance featured the stellar playing of the Ezra Duo with an evocative program of music for piano and viola. Those performances set a high standard which this next concert will continue.

The concert takes place Sunday, June 24, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Christ Church Anglican, 34 Boucher St., in Meaford. Tickets are $20, $10 for students, and are available at the church, or Stuff to Read. - Meaford Independent

"Jazz singer launches debut album at The Jazz Room"

Mary-Catherine Pazzano's earliest musical memories are of sitting on her grandmother's knee singing along while she played piano.

Pazzano even ended up inheriting her grandmother's rather eclectic collection of old sheet music, everything from the children's ditty "Do You Know the Muffin Man" up to soul tracks. She's had a few of these published manuscripts framed and hung in the music studio in her Kitchener room, beside numerous classic movie posters.

The early influences of her grandmother and old movies led Pazzano to sing at full throttle from the time she was a little kid. Her first solo was in Grade 4, an age where she could have gone either way: stage fright or fearless. She chose the latter, mostly because she didn't know any different.

"I had never known that was anything special," she admitted.

As a teenager, Pazzano was lucky enough to attend Bluevale Secondary when the multiple award winning music educator and choral conductor, Nancy Kidd taught music before retiring. "She showed me the possibilities," said Pazzano. "She made me think of music on a deeper level. She's been a huge inspiration."

That influence led Pazzano to study vocal performance at the University of Waterloo, where she graduated in 2010 having studied under another highly respected musician and vocal teacher, Stephanie Kramer.

"She really gave me my classical training," she said.

Those experiences with two remarkable teachers had a profound impact on Pazzano who launches her debut studio album, "You're Gonna Hear From Me" Friday night at the Jazz Room in Waterloo. She's pretty stoked.

"The first time I played at the Jazz Room, I had great local people working with me," she said. "They were really helpful."

Pazzano had been living in Toronto until 2012 where she completed teachers college and thought she'd launch a singing career, figuring the big city would have more opportunities. She soon changed her mind. "I decided to move back to Kitchener," she said. "I wanted a performance career and there is so much happening here."

Despite her classical training, Pazzano had switched gears to pursue jazz, a genre that provided more opportunities with just as many vocal gymnastics.

Pazzano also has not forgotten the deep influences of her vocal teachers and is now paying it forward, running a voice studio in her home and founding Jazz in the Schools, a program designed to spark the musical creativity of students. She also runs a jazz for adults class.

The singer's decision to switch to jazz has been good for her career. She has become a regular performer at Collingwood's Jazz at the Library series, Southampton United Church's Jazz Series and she headlines with the Canadian Big Band Celebration in Port Elgin.

For the Jazz Room concert, Pazzano will perform with her quartet including pianist Don Buchanan, bass player Pat Collins, saxophonist Jason Hunter and drummer Steve James.

The new album, she said, is about "storytelling" in the old jazz style and given she also produced the album, she's doubly proud of this record.

"The time and effort I put into it enhanced my musical development," she said. "I learned so much." Part of that development was being able to listen to the tracks with a critical ear.

"I hate listening to myself," she said, noting producing your own recording requires listening to nuances in the tracks over and over.

"You just have to get over yourself," she concluded with a laugh. - The Record

"Ella at 100 concert a smash hit in Thornbury"

After two standing ovations at the last Jazz at the Library concert the sellout crowd remained on its feet to recognize the performance by Mary-Catherine Pazzano and the Don Buchanan Quartet.

In celebration of Ella Fitzgerald's 100th birthday, Mary-Catherine brought the songs, which Ella loved to sing, to life again with her beautiful and rich voice to the L.E. Shore Library on March 31. As she sang and told the stories of those timeless melodies, it felt like she was reciting poetry.

The exquisite accompaniment by Don Buchanan on piano, Jason Hunter on tenor, Clark Johnston on bass and Steve James on drums exhibited supreme musicianship.

“Those five musical minds communicated with each other perfectly and created music of a calibre and artistry seldom heard,” said organizer Tony Bauer. “A remarkable evening of admirable music.” - Meaford Express

"Pazzano hits the high notes on jazz history"

Stylish 1967 movie romance "Two for the Road" chronicles the tumultuous 12-year marriage of Mark Wallace (Albert Finney) and Joanna Wallace (Audrey Hepburn) through a series of exquisite cars and witty non-linear couples vignettes as they journey through married life, from the passionate fast lanes of early love on the French Riviera to his-and-hers emotional potholes in London, England, years later.

"Oh my God. That is one of my favourite movies," exclaims jazz-singer/classic movie buff Mary-Catherine Pazzano.

That's why Pazzano included the film's title love-song in her ballads set list. She loves taking "underperformed little gems" and jazzing them up so they are "a little more hip" for the 21st century.

"Film has always been my jumping point," she notes. "Oh, who wrote that? Cole Porter? Let's look up his library of songs. Then you go down the rabbit hole and never stop," she says with a laugh.

"Sometimes my bass player or piano player will bring a song to me," she said, referring to veteran musician/longtime collaborator John McLelland on keys, in addition to acclaimed bassist Mike Grace, who has played with many jazz legends, from Henry Mancini to Dizzy Gillespie.

"For instance, they introduced me to (1944 Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn composition) 'Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry,' which I immediately fell in love with because I never knew that song," she admits.

This bittersweet jazz standard, first sung by film actress Jane Withers, comes from a stage show called "Glad to See You" that never made it Broadway. Pazzano makes it her own with a vocally opulent modern interpretation of this classic torch song.

The singer says jazz first caught her attention in high school.

"I studied classically so I did the whole legit training," says Pazzano, also a music teacher who runs jazz workshops and programs in local high schools. "But then immediately after I graduated I started latching on to jazz players (like McLelland) who really helped and mentored me. Then, as the jazzers say, I 'went left' and never went back."

Pazzano, who also studied drama, says singing these standards is like being an actress, be it "scatting" her way through the bossa nova tune "No More Blues," or losing herself in childhood singing idol Judy Garland's beloved classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

"The lyrics are so rich. You get to delve in and find something new in that lyric that works for you. You deliver that to the audience and that is why I think there are so many great recordings of standards that always sound so fresh."

Pazzano, who plays many notable jazz clubs from Toronto's Rex to Guelph's Manhattan's, is also the featured soloist on (McLelland's) Phoenix Jazz Group CD "Intrinsic Values" which comes out in February.

The Jazz Room show featuring McLelland, Grace, and Steve James on drums will showcase songs from "major players and composers" of The Great American Songbook evolving through the decades to the premiere of Pazzano's newer material from sassy uptempo beats to sultry slow-down ballads.

"There is definitely another place that takes over," says Pazzano referring to her performance process. "I am not even sure where that it is. I know that I always feel most at home in that place. You almost go up into this other world. Then you come back down to reality after you are finished singing a song when you are really into it and you are really connected to the lyrics. So I am always trying to imagine where that character will be in that lyric." - The Record

"Jazz at the Library"

It was a packed house in the gallery of the L.E. Shore Memorial Library on May 22, as folks gathered to witness the second installment of the Jazz at the Library series. The theme was The Great American Song Book, and the event saw three talented musicians perform their interpretations of a number of influential songs that were written in the first half of the 20th Century.

“It takes a little bit of explanation, because this is not just a book with 20 or 30 songs,” commented event organizer Tony Bauer. “The Great American Song Book is an institution – it’s a legacy of an incredible amount of talented people who, in a short period of time, in one place, changed musical history.”

He went on to describe some of the players, touching upon the lives and works of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rogers, and a number of other legendary artists.

“It’s not that certain songs are in and certain songs are out,” he said. “Every artist, every singer, every musician, will have his or her own version of the Great American Song Book.”

As the sold-out crowd watched on, the musicians then dove into a stunning performance.

Don Buchanan, who performed at the inaugural Jazz at the Library event, took the helm at the piano. Buchanan has been part of the Grey-Bruce music scene for over 35 years, and on Friday night his command and love for the music was again apparent.

Mike Grace positioned himself at the upright bass for the evening, providing the deep tones and a number of stellar solos. Grace has an impressive resume, including a nod as Educator of the Year by the University of Michigan Musical Society after retiring from the Ann Arbor Michigan Public School system. Mike has performed with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Mel Torme, and it was easy to see on Friday night why these famous artists would want him in their bands.

It was also easy to identify him as an educator, as Grace took a few moments during the show to interject with some interesting insights into the structure of the songs they were performing.

“There are some really good reasons why we, as jazz musicians, like to play all of these standards,” he said. “They hold up.”

As impressive as these artists were on Friday night, it was singer Mary-Catherine Pazzano who truly stole the show. Whether she was scatting her way through a fast number or slowing things down for a powerfully belted tune, Pazzano had the audience enthralled throughout the entire show. Her performance was probably best summed up in the quiet moments that occasionally appeared between the notes, when the room sat in anticipation of her next line – completely silent and breathless.

As always, the library’s gallery served as the perfect venue for the event, with the painted sunsets and landscapes providing the backdrop, the great acoustics, and the room’s high ceiling doing its absolute best to contain Pazzano’s expansive voice.

There’s no telling what the future holds for the Jazz at the Library series, but with two impressive, sold-out shows under its belt, it has already proven to be a great addition to the area’s arts and culture scene. - Thornbury Paper

"A career of local music-making"

Five years have passed since I collected my Honours Arts degree in Music and Drama from UWaterloo. A year after graduating, I left Kitchener-Waterloo to pursue a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. After receiving my second degree in 2012, I realized that I missed the strong sense of community that Kitchener-Waterloo has. I also ached to reignite my passion for singing and performance. I came home, eager to get a job that could support my passion.

One day, walking home from an interview at a high-profile local company, I realized that the 9-5 life was just not for me. I envisioned myself sitting in a cubicle, making phone calls and answering emails regarding products that didn’t remotely interest me. I felt like the musician part of myself, the part that I was proudest of, was taking a back seat. And I didn’t even have the job yet! On that walk home, I recognized that I had the skill set for making my passion into a career. I had graduated from UWaterloo with a Music degree and I had received much encouragement from my professors during my time there. The open, supportive attitude in the UWaterloo Music Department made it seem like anything was possible! I viewed myself as a musician. Now, I just needed to trust myself.

From that day on, I dove head first into making myself a marketable, self-employed musician. If I didn’t want a “normal” career, I knew that I would need to work hard to create the jobs for myself. I channeled my certified teacher status into a private voice studio, which now has 25 students. I reawakened my passion for vocal jazz performance, which had laid all-too-dormant as I pursued my BEd. I started booking more high-profile jazz performances at local venues and events, like The Jazz Room, The Registry Theatre and the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival.

As I began to gain a more prominent local profile, I realized that I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much over the years. Last year, I started a program called “Jazz in the Schools.” It is an in-school project dedicated to bringing the ideas of community, collaboration, and musicianship together through student jazz performance. Our pilot project school, Cameron Heights Collegiate, was a success, and we look forward to expanding in the months and years to come.

One of the most beautiful aspects of being a professional musician is that we’re able to spread joy through song. One of the most joyful moments was being asked to return to UWaterloo this past February to perform in the Music Department’s Noon Hour Concert series. Singing jazz music to current UWaterloo students, staff and community members was a true full-circle moment! It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on where I come from, and the journey to get to where I am now. I have no regrets, and am so excited for what is yet to come! - University of Waterloo


"You're Gonna Hear From Me" Debut Studio Album: Released 2017
-Recording at Inception Sound Studio, Toronto (Michael Haas, Engineer), Featuring Pat Collins, Don Buchanan, Jason Hunter, and Steve James

Phoenix Jazz Group, "Intrinsic Value" (Guest Vocalist): Released 2016
-Recorded at Merriam Music, Mississauga (Mike Tomba, Engineer)

Mary-Catherine Pazzano EP: Released 2013
-Recorded at Cedartree Recording Studio, Kitchener (Rick Hutt, Engineer)

Mary-Catherine Pazzano, "It's Christmas Time" Single: Released 2011
-Recorded at Inception Sound Studio, Toronto (Michael Haas, Engineer)



“Pazzano shines throughout with energy and luscious tone, as she soars with her quartet. Pazzano possesses a gorgeous, classically trained contralto voice capable of projecting the full gamut of emotions, as well as an uncanny skill with rendering the lyrics of current music, jazz standards and show tunes.”

--Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, The WholeNote Magazine (December 2017 Issue), reviewing album “You’re Gonna Hear From Me” 

Described as a performer who “has her audience enthralled throughout the entire show” (Thornbury Paper), and a musician who sings as if she is “reciting poetry” (Meaford Express), Mary-Catherine Pazzano is a jazz vocalist based in Kitchener, Ontario. Mary-Catherine’s performance highlights include headlining: Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, The Rex (Toronto), Jazz Bistro (Toronto), The Jazz Room (Waterloo), Manhattans Music Club (Guelph) and The Registry Theatre (Kitchener). She has also toured New Zealand as lead vocalist, and has been a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Mary-Catherine has shared the stage with jazz notables Mark Eisenman and Pat Collins, as well as the world-class chamber ensemble Penderecki String Quartet.

Mary-Catherine has also made a name for herself in smaller pockets of Ontario, as a regular at Collingwood’s Jazz at the Library Series and a headliner with the Canadian Big Band Celebration (Port Elgin).

Mary-Catherine completed her Bachelor of Arts in Music and Drama from the University of Waterloo in 2010, as well as her Bachelor of Education from University of Toronto in 2012. Shortly thereafter, she focused her attention to a performance career.

When Mary-Catherine isn’t performing, she is committed to using her performance experience in an educational capacity. She operates a voice studio, and is Founder and Artistic Director of Jazz in the Schools, a program dedicated to bringing music education to high school students in need of a creative outlet. She also founded and directs Jazz for Adults, a program designed for older adults to realize their passion for singing and playing jazz in a collaborative, encouraging atmosphere.  

Mary-Catherine released her debut studio album, “You’re Gonna Hear From Me” on October 27, 2017, on the label Glorious Feeling Records. The album contains original songs, material from the Great American Songbook, and lesser known jazz standards. The album has received radio airplay on JazzFM, CBC, community and commercial radio stations across Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and nationally syndicated U.S. shows in Florida, California, and Minnesota. Songs from the album have also been added to CBC’s worldwide Jazz Songbook Stream on The album received a rave review in the December issue of The WholeNote Magazine.

Contact Mary-Catherine at:, or by phone: 519-577-5192.

Band Members