René Marie at the Modlin Center 

Wednesday, Feb. 8

click to enlarge night05_rene_marie.jpg

There isn’t a false note in René Marie. Since leaving Richmond a decade ago, the jazz singer has blazed an uncompromising, brilliant path. Praised for her uncanny ability to reanimate standards, she’s had to fight to perform her own compositions. Artistic differences led to her leave the MaxJazz label after a string of acclaimed recordings. In her independent artist years, she became a successful playwright and ardent activist. Her most famous and controversial moment was substituting the lyrics for “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for those of the national anthem at a Colorado state event. Now Marie has a sympathetic new label, Motema, and two recent CDs aimed squarely at her critics. “Voice of My Beautiful Country” delivers, among other things, a powerful justification for her “Star-Spangled” lyrical substitution, while “Black Lace Freudian Slip” is all originals. What makes her unique is her ability to go beyond the lyrics to a place where even the familiar becomes naked and new. René Marie appears at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. $10-$34. modlin.richmond.edu.

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