Maureen Kennedy
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Maureen Kennedy


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This Is Always - Maureen Kennedy with Nancy Walker (p) Kieran Overs (b) and Anthony Michelli (d) - Baldwin Street Music




by Ted Ono, Baldwin Street Music

Maureen Kennedy is an exceptionally fine jazz vocalist. I consider her so special that Baldwin Street Music is breaking its tradition by accepting her self-produced CD as an official release from the label. I personally produced all our previous albums, each of which featured an established American performer who’d sung with big name bands. Throughout the twenty-five year history of the Tono/Baldwin Street Music labels, I’ve never accepted artists’ self-produced recordings, even though some were quite good and by gifted jazz vocalists.

Why do I find Maureen Kennedy so special? Well, she has all the basics: she possesses a good singing voice, always sings in tune, and her time is very secure. To me, the most striking aspect of her singing is her approach. Maureen is straightforward, understated, and sincere in everything she does. She’s completely free of mannerism and artifice. But, most importantly, she sings like a real person. While her storytelling is intimate, her singing is consistently jazzy and subtly rhythmic. As a result, she doesn’t sound like anyone else singing today. Each of my label’s artists possesses his or her own style and sound. Maureen definitely belongs to the small circle of “My People.” She also knows many uncommon quality tunes. Indeed, this CD represents only a small portion of her vast repertoire. There’s no fanciness or gimmicks in her singing. Maureen mostly leaves the “modern jazz interpretation” side of things to her collaborator Nancy Walker, one of the busiest pianist/accompanists working in Toronto today. Although the mood that the Nancy Walker trio creates and the sound engineering set this CD apart from our label’s convention, Maureen Kennedy’s exceptional singing makes this release totally relevant to the taste of our fans. I’m looking forward to having an opportunity of personally producing a CD by Maureen myself in the near future.

If you’d like to read more about Maureen Kennedy, please visit her website:

Baldwin Street Music website:


Vocalist Maureen Kennedy developed her love for jazz in her early twenties when she studied for six years with Canadian flugelhorn and trumpet player Fred Stone, renowned for his work with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus in the 1960’s. The clarity of her tonality, her restrained use of vibrato and unaffected vocal style developed under his tutelage. As a young student, Maureen also received a Canada Council grant to participate in the Jazz Workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts, which, at the time, was under the direction of bassist Dave Holland and pianist Don Thompson.

Through the years she has cultivated an extensive repertoire of memorable standards and rediscovered gems that compliment her very personal sound and reflect her musical curiosity. This is evident in her debut recording This Is Always, which features a selection of classic standards as well as rarely recorded compositions by Billy Strayhorn, Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke and Alec Wilder.

This Is Always was produced by Kieran Overs and engineered by Juno Award winner Chad Irschick at Inception Sound studio in Toronto. Accompanying Maureen on the disc are Toronto based musicians Nancy Walker (piano), Kieran Overs (bass) and Anthony Michelli (drums).

Since its Canadian release in 2004, the disc has received airplay on various CBC radio shows including Jazz Beat and After Hours and the new CBC radio jazz program Tonic; Jazz FM 91 in Toronto; and the Public Radio International show Jazz After Hours hosted by Jim Wilke. It also reached #6 on the National Jazz Chart in Canada for campus and community radio. In 2005, Ted Ono, who runs a Canadian jazz label called Baldwin Street Music, heard Maureen sing at the Toronto jazz club The Montreal Bistro. He approached Maureen with a request to add the recording to his label and it was released in the U.S. in January 2006. Since it’s American release it has been played on a variety of NPR jazz shows. Mr. Ono has described Maureen’s vocal approach as “straightforward, understated, and sincere” and her sound as distinct.

In 2004 she was asked to appear in the Japan Canada Jazz Exchange, a sold out event staged at the Top O’ The Senator that brought together renowned Japanese jazz musicians with some of Canada’s best known jazz players, including saxophonist Mike Murley, pianist Bernie Senensky and guitarist Jake Langley. Maureen has also appeared at numerous venues and jazz festivals in and around Toronto. In 2006 Maureen recorded a session for the CBC National radio jazz show Jazz Beat.

Her vast musical knowledge has been utilized in her work as a media librarian and visual researcher for the CBC in Toronto. At the CBC she has archived arts, music and entertainment programming for television and radio, enabling her to expand her knowledge of music