Shara Maxwell – Chicago’s Vocal Vixen
This vocal vixen sings classic jazz and blues standards. Her renditions stay true to the melodic content with respect and warmth.
Shara was raised musically by her mother (adept in piano, clarinet and accordion) who encouraged the young songbird to experiment in the world of melodies nurturing her intuition to blossom. In college she studied with college professor Karen Sala in Southern Illinois, moving on to Chicago with iconic pianist and performer Ruth Allyn. She continued studying with Karen Saren, and Los Angeles vocal and performance coach Stephen Memel, “The science of switching on”.
At an early age Shara became mesmerized by jazz on the radio and in adulthood, this would be the inspiration that would turn passion into pursuit.
Along with gracing the stages of Chicago’s hot spots, Shara has also collaborated and performed with Chicago’s finest–a long list of respected artists including Dave Green, Lloyd Wilson, Willie Pickens, Bob Solone, Dave Gordon, Mark Burnell, Joel Barry, Rob Amster, John Bany, Dennis Luxion, Hans Luchs, Brian O’Hearn, Steve Ramsdell, Charlie Braun, Jim Cox, Phil Gratteau and Samuel Jewell, Eric Schneider, Alejandro Urzagaste, Joe Policastro, Dennis Luxion, Jo Ann Daugherty and Jon Deitemyer. Prior to her main-stage days, Shara has also sung background vocals for the Indie Rock band- Sister Machinegun which propelled her breakthrough credits opening up for Stanley Jordan and Fareed Haque.
In fact it was popular saxophone player, Von Freeman, who bestowed Shara with the nickname ‘Long, Tall and Mellow” not due to her model looks, but as a result of his admiration of her vocal dexterity and style.
Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sam Cooke, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Ruth Brown, Carmen McRae, Minnie Riperton, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves are amongst her influences. Pulling from these ageless masters and merging her mystical, hot sultry sound is what makes Shara Maxwell so unforgettable. Connecting listeners to songs of the past in a way that makes the music instantly fresh and inviting, Shara is exhilarating. Everything old is new again.
Pure charisma demands the audience to fall in love with the sounds and presence of this lovely vixen.