Mary Foster Conklin

Her voice is rich and smoky, with a hint of lemon. Her style is both traditional and contemporary. She adds her own personal touch to a rich repertoire that spans nine decades. The Washington Post wrote that “scratch her witty tough girl-from Jersey patter” and you’ll find a sensitive artist, but not frail, with a broad-ranging boldly-colored voice and an open ear to off-beat material. MARY FOSTER CONKLIN has performed in theatres, jazz clubs and cabarets throughout New York City and across Canada. Born in New Jersey, she moved to New York to pursue theatre. Her transformation from an actor to a jazz singer began with her joining drummer/composer Art Lillard’s 15-piece Heavenly Band. Her song selections quickly shifted from show tunes into blues, Latin, and bebop. Her sets as a leader are a mixture of standards and contemporary material, with a special emphasis on lesser-known treasures from the Great American Songbook. Conklin has earned a spot on the New York stages of The Blue Note and Zinc Bar, Birdland, Iridium. Jazz at the Kitano, the Metropolitan Room, and the Triad Theatre. Conklin can be seen singing from fire escapes with Renegade Cabaret’s Lady in the Red Dress. LIFE IS A BITCH, her latest project, is a tribute to Fran Landesman, poet/lyricist best known for “Spring Can Really Hold You Up the Most” (and “The Ballad of the Sad Young Men”), has been praised in the New York Times. It’s “full of vinegar — with the intensity, tough humor of someone who lived on the fringes of society in the late 40s and early ’50s when the term ‘hip’ was still a “hip”. She has also performed on the West Coast at Vitello’s Jazz Series, Vitellos, the Gardenia, and the Jazz Bakery. She has performed at the Cultural Center in Chicago and at the Royal Room in Palm Beach, Florida. The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs awarded Ms. Conklin the 2010 MAC Award as Jazz Vocalist. She was praised by The New York Times for being “highly creative singer whose style blends jazz and cabaret so well that it defies any easy categorization.” In Theatre Magazine listed Crazy Eyes as one of the top ten CDs of 1998. She also won the 1999 Bistro Award, presented by Backstage Magazine, for outstanding recording. You’d Be Paradise was her second album, which was released in September 2001 to great critical acclaim and worldwide airplay. It was also a jazz bestseller on for two years. It all started as a simple search for Matt Dennis material, and she recorded “Everything Happens To Me” on her second CD. But it quickly turned into an obsession. After beginning her search at The Library of Congress, she teamed up with Mark Winkler, a Los Angeles singer/songwriter, to create a bicoastal tribute to Bobby Troup’s music. Blues For Breakfast: Remembering Matt Dennis (Rhombus Records), is her recording. It features songs by Matt Dennis, who is best known for “Angel Eyes”, and “Violets for your Furs”. The CD was praised by the media as “delightfully dramatic” in the Jazz Times, “a work of art” and “a timely reminder of the honorable place of Matt Dennis within American music” (Jazz Society of Oregon). She is currently at work on a new recording, Photographs, which will be released in February 2016. from

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