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Zarra has a warm and caressing presence, and she introduced this traditional song that she learned from her mother by telling of how in remote villages, sometimes one hopes that a taxi will come from far away, bringing love. But the song also operates as a metaphor for Zarra’s own inner journey through Morocco, France and New York City. She grew up listening to traditional music in her home, but was introduced to jazz after the family moved to France, where her formal musical studies began. Throughout the evening, the cadences of Arabic and Berber dialects sat easily within the sophisticated arrangements, as did the modalities of the melodies. By the end of her set, the audience was thoroughly entranced.
Check out the live footage of Malika Zarra performing live the title track from her Motema album Berber Taxi:
Gregory Porter performed on the British late-night music show Later…With Jools Holland last month in an episode that featured soul singer Cee-Lo Green, Scottish rockers Glasvegas and more.
Singing “Illusion” from his debut release Water, Porter’s appearance on Jools Holland resulted in the album catapulting from #178 to #1 on the UK iTunes Jazz Album Chart and #1 in the UK Amazon Jazz Download Chart!
Following his appearance, Gregory joined Jamie Cullum on his BBC 2 Radio show. One of Cullum’s “favourite new artists” Gregory spoke about the making of Water, and what inspires him.
Gregory Porter, Geri Allen, TK Blue and Randy Weston are all JJA Jazz Awards 2011 nominees!
Renowned artist Geri Allen is nominated for Pianist of the Year up against Fred Hersch, Jason Moran, Kenny Barron, Matthew Shipp and Vijay Iyer, while soul singer Gregory Porter is nominated for Male Singer of the Year alongside nominees Bobby McFerrin, Freddy Cole, Giacomo Gates, and Kurt Elling.
Geri and Gregory have had great years so far. Geri and Timeline was nominated for Outstanding Jazz Album for the 42nd NAACP Image Awards this past year, and Gregory received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album for his Motema debut Water. The album currently holds the #1 spot on the UK iTunes Jazz Album chart.
Producer/director Brian Grady received a nomination for Best Short Form Jazz Video of the Year for the video he did for T.K. Blues, Latin Bird. Randy Weston was nominated for Best Book About Jazz for his autobiography African Rhythms (composed by Randy Weston/arranged by Willard Jenkins; Duke University Press). In addition Lena Adasheva’s photo of Benny Powell which was used in Randy Weston’s package was nominated for Best Picture of the Year.
Furthermore trumpeter, composer, and arranger David Weiss of The New Jazz Composers Octect received a nomination for Arranger of the Year.
Motema’s artists are in great company. We are thrilled by the news, and congratulate all the artists and nominees!
Details about the Jazz Awards via the JJA press release:
The winners in each category will be chosen by the votes of the professional journalist members of the JJA, the non-profit professional organization of jazz writers, broadcasters, photographers and new media producers.
The winners will be announced at a benefit Gala at City Winery in New York City on June 11, 2011, from 1 to 5 pm EDT. The Gala, with Awards presentations and featured musical performances, will be video streamed live online at jjaJazzAwards.org and simultaneously celebrated with satellite parties thrown by jazz fans and grass roots organizations in cities around the U.S. and elsewhere.
This year’s Jazz Awards nominees demonstrate the musical vigor of jazz’s elders as well the fresh spirits of its new stars: In the Musician of the Year award category, for example, tenor sax legend Sonny Rollins, age 80, vies with 26-year-old bassist/ vocalist Esperanza Spalding (who received the 2011 Grammy for “Best New Artist” ).
Rene Marie’s Voice of my Beautiful Country contest is well under way, with about a month remaining for fans to enter. We’ve received some great feedback so far including videos, photos and written entries. Be sure to check out the submissions here, and while you’re at it maybe even enter the contest yourself!
The release has received lots of attention, not just for the contest but for the wonderful content as well. Section two on the release, The Voice of My Beautiful Country Suite, includes re-worked patriotic classics such as “America the Beautiful”, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Rene was recently interviewed on JazzTimes and discussed the new album, her history with the songs, and the journey that led her to releasing Voice of my Beautiful Country. Read the interview here.
Learn more about the release: watch Marie discuss the making of Voice of my Beautiful Country.
Rene Marie on tour:
5/21-28 – Tour of Israel
6/25 – Wilmington, DE – Clifford Brown Jazz Festival
6/28 – San Diego, CA – Anthology
6/29 – Los Angeles, CA – Catalina’s Bar & Grill
6/30 – Oakland, CA – Yoshi’s
7/1 – Denver, CO – Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge
7/6 – Washington, DC – Blues Alley
7/7-7/10 – New York, NY – Jazz Standard
7/13 – Chicago, IL – Mayne Stage
7/15-25 – Tour of Europe
Malika Zarra is an inspiring new international voice, who is both influenced by jazz and is bringing her own culture and creativity to the melting pot. Born in Morocco, raised in France, and now thriving in the polyglot metropolis of New York City, this gifted composer, producer and singer has invented a new Moroccan urban-world-jazz by tastefully using traditional North African chaâbi, Berber and Gnawa polyrhythms to underpin her distinctly contemporary urban compositions, all the while maintaining a sophisticated improvisational modern jazz approach.
Joining other fresh New York faces of the international jazz scene, such as Afro-Latin bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding, Zarra’s sultry multi-lingual vocals move effortlessly between Berber, Moroccan Arabic, French, and English.
Click below to get a free download of the title track from her album Berber Taxi
With the release of Berber Taxi on April 12th, 2011 by Motéma Music (home to legendary innovators Randy Weston and Geri Allen, and powerhouse newcomers such as Gregory Porter (GRAMMY®-nominated for Best Jazz CD on his debut release), Zarra takes her rightful place as an important world-jazz artist on New York’s multicultural music scene.
Below you can watch a live performance of “Run” by Malika Zarra at Joe’s Pub in New York. What do you think of her jazz/world fusion? Let us know in the comments!
While Reid was certainly “the architect” (as Allee called him) of the project, the making of Hues of a Different Blue was geared toward featuring everyone in new and exciting formats. Reid explains, “In designing these arrangements, my goal was to feature the unique sound of the trio and the unique voice of each guest, in unexpected ways that would offer a new musical experience for each player, and an exciting new surprise for you as well. I’m delighted with the results and hope you will be too.”
Take an intimate peek into the recording studio during the making of Reid’s new album, Hues of a Different Blue, featuring: Steve Allee, piano, Duduka Da Fonseca, drums with very special guest: Toninho Horta, guitar, Bobby Watson, alto saxophone, J.D. Allen, tenor saxophone, and Freddie Hendrix, trumpet.
In celebration of her newest CD, Voice of My Beautiful Country on Motéma Music, award winning singer-songwriter and trailblazing vocalist René Marie is asking fellow Americans to follow her lead, listen to their inner voice, pull from their own experiences and creatively express to the world, what they love most about their country through poetry, photography, spoken word, video or music.
Beginning today April 5, 2011 and running through May 31, 2011 people across the US will have a chance to participate in the “Voice of My Beautiful Country Contest” by visiting www.voiceofmybeautifulcountry.com and uploading their entries.
One grand prize winner will be awarded a trip for two, including airfare and hotel, to the Nation’s Capital – Washington, D.C. to see René Marie in concert on July 6, 2011 at Blues Alley! Two runners up will receive a signed gift set of 4 Rene Marie CDs plus tickets to a Rene Marie show in the city of their choice along the tour.
The idea for this contest sprang from the center piece of Marie’s CD, a patriotic suite of Marie’s signature arrangements of “America the Beautiful”, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and the controversial co-joining of the lyrics of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” to the melody of the “Star Spangled Banner” that brought national attention to the singer. Wall Street Journal calls the album “a brilliantly conceived package of Americana.”
“These arrangements are a straight up reflection of specific facets of American music-jazz, gospel and blues,” says Marie, “the songs of the suite itself retaining the same patriotic lyrics that I learned as a child in my segregated town of Warrenton , VA- 40 miles from our nation’s capitol. Despite having grown up in such an environment of Jim Crow laws and racism, I love this country, its citizens and its music and wanted to express that love in the Voice of My Beautiful Country Suite – a collection of songs on the new album. And as I recorded the songs I got to wondering: what is the experience of other Americans, how does the ‘voice’ of their country speak to them? So with that in mind,” adds Marie, “we thought it would be fun to set up a contest where people could express themselves and have a chance to win a trip to the nation’s capital.”
René announces the contest:
To enter the contest and for more details please visit www.voiceofmybeautifulcountry.com