Roz Corral: Telling Tales; Rene Marie: Serene Renegade


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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

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 many colors on Telling Tales. This is not about lying but about the importance of narrative and finding truth. The tunes here are all standards in one way or another -there's music from film, from Broadway, from the pen of a contemporary wizard and more -and Corral, with her dark, rich vocal instrument and a simple, refined sensibility that encompasses jazz and a whole lot more, finds the essence of all of them. With her co-producer Bruce Barth (he also plays piano here) and a handful of modern masters, she has created an album of mostly quiet delights.

Who sings anything from Pinnochio anymore? From a scat intro accompanied only by Larry Grenadier on bass, Corral bursts forth in a lovely celebration of freedom on "I've Got No Strings . Barth is smart and tasteful all the way through both as a pianist and as arranger (check the harmonically rich beginning of "Too Close For Comfort ) and the players contribute heartily to the overall sound.

Rene Marie
Serene Renegade

René Marie continues her string of inventive and soulful interpretations on Serene Renegade, her fourth MAXJAZZ adventure. Marie has it all -a rich, dark voice, an intensely brilliant sense of drama and a perfect presentation of song as entertainment and edification. And -like Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln -she writes strikingly personal and original songs that display all her wares to their best advantage.

There are pain and discomfort in these songs to be sure but what raises them to a different level are the spirit and talent of the singer and the fact that the songs and the voice don't sound like anything else. Marie notes that her song "Wishes , to take one example, hits home with woman listeners but Marie's words and sound are so poignant and deep that the heartbreak is transformed into the positive beauty of art. That kind of experience happens often here.

Marie is blessed with musicians who translate her ideas and tunes into true visions and it doesn't hurt that she herself has created the beautiful arrangements in which they express themselves. Gorgeous indeed are the interplay of the muted trumpet of Jeremy Pelt, the piano of Takana Miyamoto, the delicate rhythmic underpinnings and punctuations of Herman Burney and Quentin Baxter and the amazing singing of the leader on "Pause .

And talk about intriguing versions of other material -what a tapestry she weaves on the Beatles' "Hard Days Night! The song pulses like heavy breathing itself and builds to several powerful climaxes. John Toomey did the hip arrangement that's buoyed by the bowed bass work of Burney. The singing suggests a more out-and-out theatrical Shirley Horn.

On the notes here René Marie thanks "the little girl and the waterproof bitch who co-exist quite peacefully inside of me. These personae come together to create a dazzling individual talent. And she keeps on coming at you.

Telling Tales

Tracks: 1 Too Close for Comfort Bock, Holofcener, Wiess 5:19; 2 Wheelers and Dealers Frishberg 5:06; 3 Little Girl Blue Hart, Rodgers 4:37; 4 I'll Never Be the Same Kahn, Malneck, Signorelli 4:41; 5 Anyone Can Whistle Sondheim 5:13; 6 Let's Face the Music and Dance Berlin 5:16; 7 I've Got No Strings {From Pinocchio} Harline, Washington 3:21; 8 Change Partners Berlin 6:13; 9 Out of This World Arlen, Mercer 6:01; 10 Say It Ain't So Berlin 5:35; 11 Something's Gotta Give Mercer 3:49

Personnel: Jeff Ballard: Drums; Bruce Barth: Piano; Roz Corral: Vocals; Steve Davis: Trombone; Larry Grenadier: Bass; John Hart: Guitar

Serene Renegade

Tracks: 1 Red Shoes Marie 6:18; 2 The South Is Mine Marie 7:10; 3 Autobiography Marie 4:49; 4 Wishes Marie 6:30; 5 Pause Marie 5:04; 6 A Hard Day's Night Lennon, McCartney 5:34; 7 Lover Man Davis, Ramirez, Sherman 5:41; 8 Many Years Ago Marie, Miyamoto 6:16; 9 Little Girl Marie 5:28; 10 Rufast Daliarg Marie 4:09; 11 Ode to a Flower Marie 7:30

Personnel: Quentin Baxter: Drums; Herman Burney: Bass; Rene Marie: Vocals; Takana Miyamoto: Piano; Jeremy Pelt: Trumpet

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