A feisty, knowing jazz singer with an affinity for Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington, René Marie made people sit up and listen when she emerged on the scene fully formed in the late 1990s, performing at clubs like the Blue Note in Washington, D.C. and recording a series of well-received records on Maxjazz. A quirky songwriter and outspoken civil rights activist, Marie was 42 when she began singing professionally. “Ms. Marie has a smart, clear voice,” wrote The New York Times Ben Ratliff about her performance at the 2012 Charlie Parker Festival in New York. “She pushes her principles to the front of her work and playfully demands respect.” Her 10 albums include The Voice of My Beautiful Country, a 2011 collection of Americana – including her controversial version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” swapping the lyrics for those of the so-called black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” – and her spirited 2013 tribute to Eartha Kitt, I Wanna Be Evil, both on the Motéma label. “Marie brings her own insouciance to such Kitt classics as “Santa Baby” and “C’est Si Bon,” the New Yorker said about this appealingly idiosyncratic singer.
René Marie vocals
Kevin Bales piano
Elias Bailey bass
Quentin Baxter drums, percussion