Brenda Earle Stokes – Motherhood

Brenda Earle Stokes – Motherhood

March 31, 2024

Brenda Earle Stokes – Voice & Piano
Ingrid Jensen – Trumpet
Evan Gregor – Bass
Ross Pederson – Drums
Melissa Stylianou & Nicole Zuraitis – Background Vocals

Motherhood is a collection of songs by Canadian born, NYC based pianist, vocalist and composer Brenda Earle Stokes. A natural multitasker, Stokes has fused a passion for the piano and a love of singing into a vibrant career that crosses genres organically. A native of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Brenda’s career has taken her across Canada and the US, and internationally performing at venues like the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Toronto Jazz festival, Avery Fischer Hall and the Christchurch Arts Festival in New Zealand. 

Motherhoodshares the journey of motherhood with songs exploring identity, fear, expectations, body image, friendship and growth. Inspired by her own life as a mother, Stokes started composing this music during the early days of her son’s life, jotting words in a notebook while pushing her son’s stroller around their New York City neighborhood.  

Eight years later, Brenda Earle Stokes was invited to a music residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada, where she completed the bulk of the songs for this project. Armed with dozens of saved voice memos in her iPhone and journals full of lyric ideas and observations, she composed 8 songs in only 9 days.

Rooted in the harmonic and improvisational language of jazz, Stokes drew additional inspiration from singer-songwriters, musical theatre, spoken word and 1960s protest songs. Each song is richly orchestrated by a four-piece ensemble jazz ensemble featuring bassist Evan Gregor and drummer Ross Pederson, with additional support from vocalists Melissa Stylianou and Nicole Zuraitis. Special guest trumpet player Ingrid Jensen rounds out the group, having been especially drawn to this project as a fellow mom. The ensemble provides an energetic backdrop for Stokes’ material which is at once honest, thought provoking and laced with humor.  

As the jazz world continues to expand and more women jazz artists are able to tell their stories, Brenda Earle Stokes’ Motherhood shares vivid stories of contemporary parenthood in a decidedly jazz-forward format.

Release Date: Friday, May 10th. Release concert at DROM in NYC May 16th!