Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jazz with Rene Marie. Jan. 25-27 at SMDCAC

Rene Marie: Experiment in Truth
Jazz At The SMDCAC Cabaret Series
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

Enjoy the rhythms of soulful jazz and blues 
with award-winning, inspirational songstress 
Rene Marie

Presented by 
Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay 
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center’s 
Cabaret Series. 

Friday, Jan 25th through Sunday, January 27th

For tickets or information, 
visit smdcac.org or call 786.573.5300.

René Marie is an award-winning singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel. She is a fierce independent songstress who started her career in her 40s. Her show called “Experiment In Truth” comes to South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Friday, January 25 at 8:30pm; Saturday, January 26 at 8:30pm and 10:30pm and Sunday, January 27 at 3:30pm. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the show. Buy tickets online at www.smdcac.org or call the Box Office at 786-573-5300. The Center is located at 10950 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay. FREE Parking is available. The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center’s Cabaret Series is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay.
About René Marie
René Marie, the award winning singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, has quickly become a heroine to many; a woman of great strength exuding stamina and compassion; often explaining how finding her voice and self through singing gave her the courage to leave an abusive marriage. But since the release of her recording debut, Renaissance, this Colorado based heroine has also evolved into one of the greatest and most sensuous vocalists of our time. Unmistakably honest and unpretentious while transforming audiences worldwide with her powerful interpretations, electrifying deliveries and impassioned vocals - René Marie has drawn a legion of fans and music critics who find themselves not only entertained, but encouraged and even changed by her performances.

With two back to back releases in 2011, Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema Music), and Black Lace Freudian Slip (Motema Music), listeners will hear two sides of the story - her trademark vocals highlighting reinterpreted standards (VOMBC) and an album of all original works (BLFS).

For Voice of My Beautiful Country listeners will be struck by the wide variety of songs that she interprets. During the course of the album, Marie brings her personal touch to everything from Motown to Tin Pan Alley to “America the Beautiful.”  But Voice of My Beautiful Country is much more than a demonstration of Marie’s eclectic musical tastes; it is an ambitious celebration of Americana and the cultural diversity of these United States. Documenting material that Marie has been performing to great effect for several years, it also follows up a nationally publicized incident where Marie was invited to sing The Star Spangled Banner in Denver at the Mayor’s State of the City address. Instead Marie sang the lyrics to ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” with the melody of the Star Spangled Banner. The event touched off a firestorm of press and right wing criticism, and even death threats.
Often used to describe the classic Tin Pan Alley songs that Gershwin, Porter,  Berlin and others composed during the first half of the 20th Century, The Great American Songbook for Marie also includes  jazz, R&B, gospel, folk, rock and the blues — with her “Imagination Medley” she unites Tin Pan Alley, Motor City soul and rock by marrying Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Imagination” and Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong’s “Just My Imagination” (a major hit for the Temptations in 1971 that was also covered by the Rolling Stones in 1978).  Marie celebrates other aspects of Americana with interpretations of material that range from Dave Brubeck’s jazz jaunt, “Strange Meadow Lark” to the Dobie Gray hit “Drift Away” (a soul/soft rock favorite from the early 1970s) to the traditional folk standards “John Henry” and an anthemic version of “O Shenandoah.” The center and title piece of the album is Marie’s extraordinary Voice of My Beautiful Country Suite, an ambitious jazz and soul tinged medley of the patriotic anthems “America the Beautiful,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” On “America the Beautiful” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” Marie takes a radical departure by performing these exalted lyrics, familiar to us all, over fresh melodies that she has composed and over which she improvises.

Black Lace Freudian Slip is a collection of thirteen original songs written by René Marie and recorded with her trio of Kevin Bales on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Quentin Baxter on drums joined by special guests Bill Kopper on acoustic guitar, Lionel Young on electric guitar and fiddle, Dexter Payne on harmonica and very special guest Michael Croan (Marie’s son) on vocals. Although it’s the rare jazz vocalist that focuses on writing original lyrics and music, Marie explains that the idea for a set of her own material might not have come about at all, had it not been for a Mid-western club owner she met in 2003.  When Marie performed original material in his club, he angrily objected; “true jazz vocalists,” he insisted “are supposed to interpret other people’s songs, not write songs of their own.” Marie gives a shout out to him on the album with the  hilarious number entitled “This for Joe”, a song that has been wonderfully received at her shows, and made her realize that including some original songs in her repertoire was, in fact, something she that she needed to do. “I don’t bear any ill will toward that club owner,” Marie emphasizes. “I’m so grateful to him because when I took that stand, it was a huge impetus for me to keep writing original music. Think of the doors that are opened when you do something that someone is basically daring you to do.”

It is hard to believe that Marie didn’t sing professionally until after she turned 40. But in fact, the Virginia native, married at 18, mother of two by 23 and a member of a strict religious group with her then husband only occasionally sang in public while she was focused on raising a family. It was in 1996 that Marie’s eldest son Michael urged her to take the plunge to pursue a career. “He told me that was exactly what I needed to do” she explains. Two years later following an ultimatum by her husband to either stop singing or leave their home, she chose to leave after 23 years of marriage.
What followed was a whirlwind of success and great critical acclaim rarely seen in the jazz world, from The LA Times to the Washington Post, from the Miami Herald to the Chicago Tribune. She has received several awards throughout her career including Best International Jazz Vocal CD (besting Cassandra Wilson and Joni Mitchell) by the Academie Du Jazz (Paris, France) and has graced the Billboard Charts multiple times propelling her to headliner status at major festivals in the US & abroad including 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) Shanghai Jazz Festival (China) among many others. 

In 2007 René Marie released Experiment in Truth as well as the single “This Is (Not) A Protest Song,” a fund-raiser for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. And in 2009 she released the sound track for her touring one-woman play, Slut Energy Theory (which follows the protagonist U’Dean Morgan, on a journey from sexual abuse to self esteem, imparting some very down home and hilarious wisdom along the way). Marie also released a digital single, “Three Nooses Hanging,” which musically embodied her shock and reaction to the Jena Six case in Louisiana.

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