"Schafer's awareness of when to embellish and when to pull on the reins stands out among the current crop of jazz singers all-too eager to show off their chops at the expense of communicating actual emotion." - Jefferson Public Radio
"Wonderfully vintage yet profoundly new and exciting."
- Musical Memoirs
Vocalist Maria Schafer warmly welcomes jazz listeners swiftly into the 21st century with her polished, soaring vocal style and easy, empathetic charm. Driven by an inquisitive passion for self-discovery through song, Ms. Schafer's sensitive and uncontrived approach to jazz "stands out among the current crop of jazz singers (Jefferson Public Radio)" and is "just the right tonic for jaded jazz ears (Midwest Record)." Instinctually articulate with a remarkable ear, she is an adventureous songwriter and composer in her own right and mixes influences from jazz, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and folk music realms while also serving as a clever custodian of the Great American Songbook with fresh arrangements of silver-worn standards.
By writing lyrics from her own experiences and engaging directly and intimately with her audience, Maria seeks to convey messages of empowerment, endless curiosity, and physical embodiment of joy through dancing and sometimes vulnerable melodies. A cultivated mixture of Joni Mitchell's introspection, Dianne Reeves' vocal explorations, and Betty Carter's unabashed approach to the truth all serve key roles in both Ms. Schafer's originals and interpreted songs. Her current recording project set to arrive in Spring 2024 will be her first to feature a majority of original songs, offering catchy new standards and beautifully haunting, heart-bearing tunes exploring the vulnerability of love and the catharsis of reveling in lessons learned from failure.
An ardent student of life, Maria first studied science and pre-nursing in college, then moved on to classical and jazz voice studies after a paperwork issue put her science studies on hold. As a student musician she ventured alone to Latvia as a Finalist in the Riga Jazz Stage competition and then after obtaining degrees in music and kinesiology cut her teeth on international stages as the female vocalist touring full-time with The Glenn Miller Orchestra across North America and Japan for two years. She has further developed her musical influences through a deep love of multiple Brazilian music genres and attending workshops and camps centered around folk and world music. Ms. Schafer's two full-length albums feature new-fashioned standards and illuminating originals and can be heard on stations across North America including KKJZ (Los Angeles), KNKX (Washington), KCSU (Colorado), WDCB (Chicago, IL), and CBC Radio in Canada.
A Chance to Make You Mine (original rumba/latin jazz) - Maria Schafer and her octet at the Norris
Estrada Branca (Antonio Carlos Jobim beautiful bossa) - Maria Schafer and Shane Savala at Collage
Long As You're Living (Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach) - Maria Schafer live at Campus Jax
"This Downbeat darling is just the right tonic for jaded jazz ears." - Midwest Record
"A treat for anyone who considers themselves to be a Jazz aficionado, superb, smooth, evocative vocals, enveloped in equally emotive instrumentals." - Riveting Riffs
"A knockout debut... leaves you wondering what she can't do." - The New York City Jazz Record
"A stunning debut. Make a note of Schafer's name, because you're going to be seeing and hearing it a lot over the coming years. With a voice like hers, there are no limits to how far this exceedingly talented lady can go." - babysue Reviews
A "voice full of nuance, strong in character and soaked in emotion that the audience cannot and should not deflect.” - Debbie Burke, jazz blogger
“...makes you beg for more of the same. Impressive foray." - Jazz Weekly
"Simply put, Ms. Schafer has the kind of classy voice that would not be out of place in the pantheon of great female jazz vocalists." - Hill Rag
"A master of her craft...Whatever her musicians do, they only enhance [her] style and beauty. She is the diamond necklace hanging around the necks of these band members and glittering brightly." - Musical Memoirs
“[Maria's] pure and genuine presence [shares] the warm and distinctive feeling of late Karen Carpenter. So Right shows a unique hybridization of Latin Bossa Nova and Pop with Maria's captivating cheerful vocals.” - First View
“[Maria] is winsome with percussion and Sprague’s soprano on “So Right.” There’s a pastoral beauty on “When We Dream” while some folksy pedal steel guitar by Rick Schmidt gives an indie Nashville feel for Schafer on “You Belong To Me”.” - Jazz Weekly
“Warm and sensuous vocal talent” - SmoothJazz.com
“Vocalist Maria Schafer is a work of art" - Blog Talk Radio
“...[James Kob] created an overwhelming sound that the "star" of the album, singer Maria Schafer, put in the spotlight. She has a hot jazzy voice that can handle a lot more to me than what they show here; just to say her vocals are excellent on this album.” -Keys and Chords
"Schafer’s velvety voice [rose] above the strains of this fabulous musical ensemble." - The Strand Center for the Arts