Mary Stallings Biography

16 August 1939, San Francisco, California, USA. Stallings began singing in public at the age of eight. Encouraged by her saxophonist uncle, Orlando Stallings, she sang in local jazz clubs during her teenage years and while still in high school joined Louis Jordan’s band. She began touring, singing in other parts of the USA and also as far afield as Australia. Back in the USA she sang in Chicago with Sonny Stitt, and during an engagement at San Francisco’s Blackhawk was heard by Dizzy Gillespie who invited her to appear with him at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival. She then joined Billy Eckstine and soon afterwards was with the Grover Mitchell- Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines band. When Mitchell joined Count Basie he recommended Stallings when the female vocalist spot became vacant. This was in 1969 and she stayed with the band for three years, touring internationally. Stallings then returned home to raise her daughter but was called upon by Gillespie for a tour of South America and also worked in her home-town with pianist Ed Kelly. Eventually, she returned to full-time singing, still based in San Francisco but touring Europe and the Orient. A mature and confident style allows Stallings to deliver her material with flair and skill.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.