The Zeider's American Dream Theater
hosted the first annual Vocal Jazz Summit. Under the direction of Alexis Cole
the summit is "an annual conference designed to bring together vocal jazz enthusiasts, emerging and established artists, industry leaders, and the greater vocal jazz community to connect and engage one another in celebration of the art form, present unique educational experiences, and provide an environment to nurture and grow the vocal jazz community. The weekend will engage festival-goers with live performance, interactive workshops and masterclasses, and networking opportunities." Because live audiences are still be impacted by Covid the summit was both live and virtual. Broadcast from locations across the country vocal jazz enthusiasts were able to participate in the two day event without leaving home. To learn more about the summit go to https://thez.org/vocaljazzsummit/ (next year's has already been planned).
Luckily for the locals here in the Virginia Beach area Zeider's hosted Rene Marie
for a one hour set of standards, self-penned numbers, and enjoyable conversation between songs. Backed by pianist Xavier Davis
and her long time bassist Elias Bailey
, Rene Marie delivered as only she can. Sometimes coy, shy, heartbroken or happy, like a great actress she pulled her listeners in with her emotional inflective readings. She roamed the stage, talking to Davis and Bailey or facing her virtual and live audience to converse with them and tell a story about the next song. When she sang the audience knew that song was hers, no matter who had sung it before now she owned it. Rene Marie made the stage seem so intimate the 15 people in attendance in the 300 seat room felt like they were sitting in their livingroom listening to a private concert. If it was not for the new rules for venues (the room could not be used for more than 90 minutes) the audience would gladly still be there.