RENE MARIE, I WANNA BE EVIL (with Love To Eartha Kitt)


Moods collide in the most harmonious way on Rene Marie’s saucy homage to Eartha Kitt, I Wanna be Evil, an album of signature Kitt tunes and lesser-known songs that underscore Ms. Marie’s originality and strong point of view. While she doesn’t sound like or imitate Kitt, Marie unquestionably lets her spirit move her with evocative renditions of “I’d Rather be Burned As A Witch” and the title cut, both which succeed due to the scorching dynamic between Marie and her ace band, plus the high-octane horn arrangements by hot, young trumpeter Etienne Charles who rounds out the frontline trio along with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and saxophonist Adrian Cunningham.

Marie’s own arrangement of the old Rosemary Clooney hit, “Come On-A My House” utilizes exotic percussion by Quentin Baxter to conjure up all kinds of illicit pursuits and her investment in the lyric gives this standard a modern sensual twist. The band floats “C’est Si Bon” on a cottony cloud of rhythm, plush and inviting, as Marie coos the song with a sophisticated wink and nod. Charles is highlighted again on “Santa Baby,” arranged by pianist Kevin Bales and sung at a Shirley Horn tempo – perhaps the best after-hours rendition of this classic tune you’ll hear.

The album concludes with “Weekend,” an original song by Rene Marie that carries the emotional gravity of Billie Holiday's “Strange Fruit.” Only an artist as talented as Ms. Marie could write a song about sexual abuse that resonates so deeply, maybe because its message connects more easily with a soul-jazz groove. It’s a sobering closer to be sure, but points to the better musical choices that Marie makes and her production standards that make I Wanna Be Evil a truly great jazz vocal record. (10 tracks; 60 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: RENE MARIE, I WANNA BE EVIL (with Love To Eartha Kitt)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

RENE MARIE, I WANNA BE EVIL (with Love To Eartha Kitt)


Moods collide in the most harmonious way on Rene Marie’s saucy homage to Eartha Kitt, I Wanna be Evil, an album of signature Kitt tunes and lesser-known songs that underscore Ms. Marie’s originality and strong point of view. While she doesn’t sound like or imitate Kitt, Marie unquestionably lets her spirit move her with evocative renditions of “I’d Rather be Burned As A Witch” and the title cut, both which succeed due to the scorching dynamic between Marie and her ace band, plus the high-octane horn arrangements by hot, young trumpeter Etienne Charles who rounds out the frontline trio along with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and saxophonist Adrian Cunningham.

Marie’s own arrangement of the old Rosemary Clooney hit, “Come On-A My House” utilizes exotic percussion by Quentin Baxter to conjure up all kinds of illicit pursuits and her investment in the lyric gives this standard a modern sensual twist. The band floats “C’est Si Bon” on a cottony cloud of rhythm, plush and inviting, as Marie coos the song with a sophisticated wink and nod. Charles is highlighted again on “Santa Baby,” arranged by pianist Kevin Bales and sung at a Shirley Horn tempo – perhaps the best after-hours rendition of this classic tune you’ll hear.

The album concludes with “Weekend,” an original song by Rene Marie that carries the emotional gravity of Billie Holiday's “Strange Fruit.” Only an artist as talented as Ms. Marie could write a song about sexual abuse that resonates so deeply, maybe because its message connects more easily with a soul-jazz groove. It’s a sobering closer to be sure, but points to the better musical choices that Marie makes and her production standards that make I Wanna Be Evil a truly great jazz vocal record. (10 tracks; 60 minutes)

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