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).