Second Act

Where have all the jazz singers gone? To the big smoky lounge in the sky -- the great ones anyway -- leaving fans of the sultry-throated diva to look for the next heir to the throne. Enter René Marie. The 48-year-old veteran's career is only now picking up steam after a twenty-year hiatus spent raising her family, and her voice has just gotten better and better with time as she improves upon a smooth style she learned by copying famous recordings by Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and other immortals. Still the gifted and unpredictable Marie knows how to turn a jazz standard like "It Might as Well Be Spring" on its head, creating passion-filled performances that are all her own. With live shows that some have described as transformative, her vocal power and tonal mastery can turn a song into an experience.

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John Anderson