Rene Marie Croons The Great American SongbookJune 22nd, 2011
Getting a late start to her career at 40 years old hasn’t lessened her significance in contemporary American jazz music. A caged domestic life and abusive marriage spurred a blues career carrying on the lineage of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Since the millennium, Marie has been called to sing about the Jena Six Case in Louisiana and to raise funds for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Thanks in great part to the encouragement of her eldest son, Marie pursued her singing career full-time. Marie boasts eight albums and two politically charged singles, numerous international accolades including Best International Jazz Vocal CD from Academie Du Jazz). Her latest work, Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema Music, 2010), couldn’t be more apropos for our struggling national pride.
Among some of Marie’s headlining performances have been the prestigious Women In Jazz Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Spoleto festival in Charleston, SC, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival (Scotland), and Shanghai Jazz Festival (China). The release of My Beautiful Country follows Marie’s controversial mash-up of The Star Spangled Banner with ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ AKA The Negro National Anthem during the 2008 Denver Mayor’s State of the City address.
Marie will be performing at Mayne Stage, formerly the Morse Theater (1328 Morse Ave. Chicago, IL 60626) a motion picture theatre built it in 1912. It’s an historic, newly renovated venue for a distinguished, sage performer who channels the voices of the jazz generation into the blues and gospel reworkings of popular Tin Pan Alley, Cole Polter, and Irving Berlin songs known as The Great American Song Book. Marie honors this ‘American’ songbook by changing the melody of pop standards or combining crooning blues lyrics with unmistakable melodies written by the extraordinary Russian, Jewish composers who shaped popular music in the United States.
Buy tickets to one of her two performances on July 13th and sample Marie’s discography. You will find yourself greeted with an unearthly voice you thought belonged to a simpler time. It turns out, we need the blues just as much now.