Born and reared in San Francisco, vocalist MARY STALLINGS started performing professionally before the age of 10 with her mother and two older sisters in a family gospel group. Her career got off to an early start and she was soon performing with such luminaries as Ben Webster, Cal Tjader, Earl Hines, Red Mitchell, Teddy Edwards, and the Montgomery brothers (Wes, Monk, and Buddy) in Bay Area night clubs such as Hungry i, The Purple Onion and El Matador. Perhaps Mary’s best-known recording was the 1961 Cal Tjader Plays, Mary Stallings Sings on Fantasy Records, which brought engagements in Tokyo, Manila and Bangkok along with work up and down the West Coast. She performed with Billy Eckstine, toured South America with Gillespie’s band, shared the bill with Joe Williams, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald and enjoyed a three-year residency in the Count Basie. She has played the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York with Clark Terry, the Savannah Music Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The New York Times has described Mary’s voice as “supple and timeless . . . encompassing the whole history of music" while the Philadelphia Inquirer has written, “Stallings sounds like Carmen McRae with some Dinah Washington sass thrown in.”
Called “a great musician [and] a force to be reckoned with” by Terence Blanchard, and “one of my favorites” by Tony Bennett, pianist and composer BRUCE BARTH has performed on over one hundred recordings and movie soundtracks including thirteen as a leader. He also played piano on-screen in Spike Lee’s film, Malcolm X. Bruce is equally at home playing solo piano (American Landscape on Satchmo Jazz Records), leading an all-star septet (East and West on MaxJazz), and composing for a variety of ensembles. His trio has recorded live at the legendary Village Vanguard in New York City, and his duo recording, Home, with Steve Wilson was chosen by DownBeat Magazine as one of the best of 2010. He has a recent CD, Daybreak, and a new DVD, Live at Café del Teatre. Early in his career, Bruce worked in the bands of Stanley Turrentine and Terence Blanchard. Throughout his professional life, he has had extended collaborations with Terell Stafford, Steve Wilson, Tony Bennett, Luciana Souza, and Steve Nelson and has performed with James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Art Farmer, and the Mingus Big Band. In June, Bruce performed in Chicago at Symphony Center in the premiere of Dana Hall’s "The Hypocrisy of Justice: Sights and Sounds of the Black Metropolis: Riffin' and Signifyin(g) on Richard Wright's Native Son."