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Don't Look Back

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iTunes Review

In the '60s and '70s, West Coast singer Mary Stallings performed with Dizzy Gillespie, recorded with Cal Tjader, and sang with The Count Basie Orchestra. Then she dropped out of the music scene for years before reemerging in the '90s. On 2012's excellent Don't Look Back, she's accompanied by pianist Eric Reed, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Carl Allen. The album opens with Benny Carter and Spencer Williams’ “When Lights Are Low,” and Stallings immediately dazzles the listener with her control and nuance: she's both precise and soulful, a singer who shapes every inflection just so. “The Way You Love Me” is taken at a snail’s pace, and both Stallings and the band wring meaning from every note and timbre. “Is That…? (This Love)” features inventive work from Allen and a fine solo from Rogers, while “Mary’s Blues” digs into that idiom in powerful ways. A cover of the well-known Mal Waldron composition “Soul Eyes” displays the masterful way that Stallings combines a variety of vocal colors. A hushed “People Time (Forever Mine),” another Benny Carter gem, wraps things up.

Customer Reviews


I'd not heard of Stallings before Reading Ben Ratliff's review of her new CD in the New York Times last Sunday.
Intrigued, I came here, listened to some excerpts, and immediately downloaded the album. Her phrasing, intonation and understated depth of feeling add up to a sound completely her own. The trio accompanying her couldn't be better.

A fine jazz singer under-rated in my opinion

I have been a Mary Stallings fan for many years. If you like this album, go back and find her 1994 release with Gene Harris entitled "I Waited for You" - my favorite, but unfortunately not available on iTunes. Her album with Cal Tjader - done when she was just 22 years old - is good, but a bit raw in my opinion. Over the years she has matured to have a gorgeous voice. Enjoy.


Born: August 16, 1939 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Greatly influenced by Carmen McRae, San Francisco native Mary Stallings is a passionate, robust singer who isn't nearly as well known as she should be. The niece of saxman Orlando Stallings, she started singing as a child and sang jazz in Bay Area clubs during her teenage years, when she performed with Louis Jordan & His Tympani 5 and shared the stage with such greats as Wes Montgomery and Ben Webster. One of Stallings' admirers was vibist Cal Tjader, whom she teamed up with in 1961 for Cal Tjader...
Full Bio
Don't Look Back, Mary Stallings
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Mar 26, 2012

Customer Ratings