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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rene Marie at Dakota Sept. 5

Jazz singer Rene Marie will be appearing at Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis on September 5. Marie is one of the great contemporary stylists of vocal jazz — she takes tremendous chances. I am not sure what her personal thoughts are about Betty Carter, but it strikes me that she is one of the few singers following her lead. She takes the Great American Songbook and stretches it, compresses it, and otherwise makes it go in ways completely unexpectable.

Marie is also a clever and important songwriter and performance artist. Her "Slut Energy Theory" received rave reviews. And she is known for singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the black national anthem, to the tune of the "Star Spangled Banner" at the beginning of a Denver city council meeting. (Link) It was very controversial, but I found it deeply moving.

She leaves Minneapolis for a four-night stand at the Jazz Standard in New York City Sept. 9-12.

Jefferson Hansen


  1. I hope that you had a chance to see Rene Marie's performance.

  2. OOOOhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah. Transcendental. If you can imagine that song that goes "Give me the beat boys to clear my soul I wanna get lost in your rock and roll" slowed downed past Ray Charles' speed and savored for 10 minutes, you will begin to get the idea.She also sang, if you can believe it, the drug anthem "White Rabbit." The highlight was the final suite of American patriotic song. She wrote it because several years ago in Russia she was introduced as an "American singer" and realized she didn't think of herself as American. Hate to say the obvious, but it's all about a black woman taking back her birthright.