Iconoclastic and often enigmatic singer Rene Marie was plain when she once said that she never wished to record a tribute disc. After four successful recordings with MAXJAZZ, including one (Vertigo (2001)) provocatively pairing Dixie" with Strange Fruit," Marie took a hard left to address in music some of her pressing artistic concerns. This resulted in 2011's Black Lace Freudian Slip (Motema) and her loving ode to America, Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema, 2011). No, Marie had no intention of making a tribute disc and then, when she had changed her mind, she chose the perfect subject...Eartha Kitt.read more
Budding jazz instrumentalists are often told that they need to find their own voice but, ironically, those who use their actual voices are often expected to adhere to the sonic standards of those who came before. Fans and press who value originality in jazz instrumentalists wring their hands in frustration when more John Coltrane clones come into the picture but, on the other side of the coin, the masses applaud and herald singers with voices crafted in the images of jazz icons (e.g. Madeleine Peyroux's Billie Holiday-like voice), creating a double standard that does a disservice to those singers who ...read more
René MarieNovember 1, 2008 (First Set)Dazzle NightclubDenverRené Marie is a jazz singer, and one of the better ones in the business these days. She performs the standards and often does so in a straight ahead, straightforward but still unique manner. She's not content to exclusively reinterpret the jazz songbook, however. She writes her own songs and is also known to occasionally select a pop song not typically heard in a jazz context or, more dramatically, to weld together two very different songs for artistic and ironic effect. Her most vivid example of ... read more
Sure there have been more discs from female jazz singers now than at almost any other time, but they've enabled us to find women whom we might not have had the good fortune to find before - women who understand the tradition, choose their material carefully and care about telling a story.
Roz Corral Telling Tales Blujazz 2005
Roz Corral started her musical life as a cabaret singer but began in the late '80s to be serious about jazz. Studies with bebopper Barry Harris deepened her approach to song and it's revealed in its ...read more
The biggest surprise perhaps on Rene Marie’s inaugural live recording is the conspicuous absence of her controversial reading of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit" and the traditional Dixie" in medley from her last MAXJAZZ recording Vertigo (MXJ114, 2001). To Marie’s credit, she does cover her previously covered How Can I Keep From Singing" (the title of her initial MAXJAZZ release). Stunning in this release is Ms. Marie’s beautiful coupling of Ravel’s Bolero" and Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne." This daring association alone (the Dixie/Strange Fruit" union not withstanding) qualifies Marie as a front-line jazz singer.
In a word, Live at the ...read more