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Monty Alexander, Randy Weston, Malika Zarra, Rene Marie, and JC Stylles Are Among Nominees
Of The 11th Independent Music Awards
Artists Among More Than 300 Self-Released & Independent Label Artists Nominated
Recordings by Motéma artists Monty Alexander, Randy Weston, Malika Zarra, René Marie, and JC Stylles are among the nominees named by Music Resource Group (MRG) for The 11th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent bands and fans.
Two Motéma projects were nominated in the “Live Performance Album” category, both of which were recorded live at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola: Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express Live! (which was nominated for Best Reggae Album at this years 54th Annual Grammy Awards, and spent multiple weeks at #1 in both world and jazz radio charts on JazzWeek), and NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston & his African Rhythms Sextet’s The Storyteller. Motéma is also represented with two projects in the “Jazz Album” category: Vocalist René Marie’s outrageous emancipation proclamation: Black Lace Freudian Slip and Australian guitar ace JC Stylles, whose critically acclaimed break-out album Exhilaration & Other States was hailed by All Music Guide as, “a highly charged state of musical pleasure, presenting a range of styles that work well on Exhilaration And Other States,-a state worth exploring.” In the “World Beat Album” category, Moroccan artist Malika Zarra is honored for her outstanding CD Berber Taxi, which gained major radio and press attention including multiple weeks at #1 on the JazzWeek world music chart. Zarra & Marie were also honored last week with awards from SESAC.
These nominations recognize the diversity and excellence on Motéma Music’s growing roster of award-winning jazz, and visionary jazz, world and other creative musicians.
About The IMAs
Representing the broad spectrum of today’s global independent music scene, the Nominees in over 70 Song, Album, Music Video and Design categories were culled from thousands of submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe.
Winners will be determined by a panel of 77 influential artist and industry judges including Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Suzanne Vega, Joshua Redman, Tori Amos, Michael Franti, Bettye LaVette, Del McCoury, Ozzy Osbourne, Shelby Lynne, Alan Light (Live From The Artists Den), Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center), Sara Beesley (Joe’s Pub), Chris Diaz (Knitting Factory Entertainment), and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter). The results will be announced in April 2012.
In addition to industry-determined Winners, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 20, 2012 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected program winners.
For details and to see a complete list of Nominees and Judges visit: TheIndependentMusicAwards.com
More About Motéma’s Nominees
Monty Alexander just completed a sold out two-week residency at the renowned Blue Note, celebrating the pianist’s 50 years in music. Time Out New York hails, “Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander has built a comfortable niche for himself by doing something that few other pianists with his credentials would attempt: He makes the reggae backbeat a base for swinging improvisation.”
Randy Weston, has been celebrating a remarkable year in music. The NEA Jazz Master and 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, who’s received multiple awards and honors this year, premiers his Guggenheim Fellow project, “An African Nubian Suite” on April 8th at NYU’s Skirball Center for Performing Arts. Weston composed the piece, with funding from his Guggenheim fellowship, which pays tribute to the Nubians, the first human race on earth and the oldest of the great civilizations in Africa. See details on the show here.
Rene Marie’s Black Lace Freudian Slip, nominated for Jazz Album has received consistent critical acclaim and made it into many 2011 “Best of” lists including JazzTimes and Jazz Police. Marie also made the short list for the JazzTimes 2011 Expanded Critics’ Poll for Female Artist and Christopher Loudon hailed the album as “one of last year’s most exciting jazz vocal releases.”
Malika Zarra brings a unique point of view to her recording Berber Taxi, nominated for World Beat Album. 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 sound 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 approach. French Culture Guide calls the singer, “a multi-cultural shape-shifter.”
JC Stylles, mixing a range of R&B and pop tunes with jazz standards, expands the guitar/organ trio into exciting new territory on Exhilaration & Other States, nominated for Jazz Album. The Australian-born guitarist serves up a mix of relentless swing, relaxed grooves and beautiful ballads on this recording. Jazz Inside hails, “JC Stylles and his trio swing out strong!”
Motéma congratulates all its artists nominated for the Independent Music Awards. For more information on the nominated artists and to sample their music please visit www.motema.com and www.independentmusicawards.com/imanominee/11th
Please vote for your favorites in the Vox Pop Jukebox and spread the word.
With the passing of Halloween, the holidays are now just around the corner. To get your mouth watering over the approaching Thanksgiving feast, singer René Marie (who just released Black Lace Freudian Slip, the follow-up to her acclaimed Voice Of My Beautiful Country) shares a special recipe that has long been a holiday staple in her family.
“When I was still living at home, my mom used to make this oyster stew all the time when the family came home for Thanksgiving.
If you can, have a loved one that you haven’t seen lately help you in the kitchen. It makes the soup taste better…”
- Rene Marie
René Marie follows up her much publicized Motéma debut Voice of my Beautiful Country, with the release of Black Lace Freudian Slip, her second album on Motéma and her 10th release overall, available now. This time around the singer ups the ante with this emotionally gripping, all original set, revealing herself not only as one of the most exciting vocalists in jazz but also as one of today’s most relevant song writers. Here René talks about the new album, and some of her favorite things.
What was the inspiration behind Black Lace Freudian Slip?
Inspiration? I think the inspiration for all my albums has been a sense of desperation, but none more so than Black Lace Freudian Slip. I mean, don’t we all have that little black lace freudian slip somewhere in our closet that we’re just dying to wear? Seriously, though, as a rule, these songs build up in me and in our group in general, gaining momentum and intensity each time we play, it seems, until I can’t take having all this unreleased music inside me! I’m desperate for it to be released to make room for the next batch. It’s like the aroma of a homemade pound cake baking in the oven; the closer it gets to being done, with that glorious vanilla aroma wafting through the air, the more desperate I am to satisfy my longing and just eat the damn thing.
Some tracks on BLFS I’d been too afraid to release because of how different the music is from anything else I’ve ever done. The title track is one example, “Falling Off A Log” is another. The desperation to express this side of myself compelled me to finally record it. With some other tracks I used fear as a source of energy, forcing myself to record them because I had let the “who-do-you-think-you-are” phenomenon overpower me for so long. “Gosh, Look At The Time” is an example of this particular peculiarity. I wrote that tune 10 years ago! Desperation drove me to finally record it…
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
Y’know that song? That one song that, when I’m singing it and everyone on stage is moving individually and in tandem and then I catch the eye of someone – it only has to be one person – in the audience with that look on their face that indicates they are being deeply touched? Touched right there, in that emotional G-spot that’s lain dormant for so long? The look on their face at that moment brings me to my knees at the realization that something we did caused expression on one person’s face…whichever song is doing that in any given moment, THAT’S my favorite song to perform live.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Bobby McFerrin. Bonnie Raitt. Darius Rucker.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about being in the music industry?
Honestly? My least favorite thing about being in the “music industry” someone somewhere thought it appropriate to put those two words together. In the context of a “music industry,” I cannot think of one single thing that could be considered a ‘favorite thing.’ However, because i do not wish to be thought of as grumpy, I have made a list of some of my favorite things.
Favorite song of all time: Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”
Favorite piece of jewelry that I own: My grandmother’s wedding ring
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite joke: Q. What did the grape say when the elephant stepped on it?
A. Nothing, it just let out a little whine (wine)
Favorite hobby: Gardening/landscaping
Favorite car: Jaguar XJ6, silver
Favorite quote: “We simply must do the thing we think we cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Favorite movie: It’s A Wonderful Life
Favorite Miles Davis anecdote: Miles had just finished a concert that featured his latest work, “Bitches Brew,” right? A fan approached miles and the gist of what he said was, “Miles, I love the straight ahead tunes you used to do – they are fantastic! This new stuff you’re doing now? I just can’t get into it, man.” So Miles looks the fellow in the eye and, without missing a beat, says “So…I should wait on you, then?”
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played and why?
Any gig we play at a homeless shelter. Because homelessness has affected me and my family, it’s a social issue I choose to focus on, both personally and musically. Whenever we can, we like to do community outreach concerts at homeless shelters in whatever city we’re playing. What I love about these concerts is the up close and personal vibe between us and the audience. In a homeless shelter, ain’t no pretense or bullshit. It is what it is. It’s that and a lot of personal dignity and compassion. You can’t go in there and NOT be touched by the humanity of everyone you meet – whether they work there or not. when we finish our concerts there, it feels like I’ve been given a gift.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
10/22-10/23 Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, Denver, CO
10/25-10/26 Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA
The winners of Rene Marie’s Voice of my Beautiful Country Contest have been announced! In light of Rene Marie’s latest release (listed in A Blog Supreme’s The Best Jazz of 2011 So Far?) contestants were asked to share “their beautiful country” with us. We received all kinds of wonderful submissions, from musical compositions to photographs to artwork. Browse the entries.
A big thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. Rene Marie reviewed all the entries herself, and ultimately decided to award first place to Maggie Council for her moving composition “Bingo Bus on the Trail of Tears.” See all the winners below.
Congratulations goes to:
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
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
Allegro Music Distribution’s Spring 2011 Sampler is out. A mix of blues and jazz tracks, the sampler features songs by two Motema artists: Monty Alexander’s “Renewal” and Rene Marie’s “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
Jamaica native Monty Alexander is a master of the piano keys, with a career spanning five decades. The pianist makes his Motema debut with the release of his new CD Harlem-Kingston Express out June 16th. Preview a taste of Alexander’s musicality on the spring sampler.
See Monty live: April 5th-9th at Birdland Jazz Club : Celebrating 50 years in music!
This engagement is the first in a series of concerts in celebration of my 50th year in music. It gives me a special opportunity to look back musically to 1961 and my first jobs in Kingston, Jamaica, with my first group, Monty and the Cyclones and the recordings I did for Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reed. I also look forward to reflecting musically on adventures I had through the years with, among others, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Quincy Jones, Ray Brown and other legends of Jazz
Rene Marie’s newly released Voice of my Beautiful Country has received great buzz from a number of sources including NPR’s A Blog Supreme. Patrick Jarenwattananon writes, “Having a rich imagination, while not as tangible as technique, is just as (or more) important to jazz singing…it doesn’t seem a stretch to say that René Marie has a lot of that.” Sample Rene’s inspiring interpretation of America on “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and purchase the full album here.
See Rene live: Mar 29-Apr 3 at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola : Sing Into Spring Festival w/Rene Marie, Carla Cook & Allan Harris: Two Skirts & a Shirt
This promises to be one of the cutest shows at Dizzy’s this season with three distinct song stylists coming together to share their commonalities; sharp wits, sass, and lots of showmanship. Even the title of their revue doesn’t convey how much fun the audience will be subjected to with these three very talented singers. Rene Marie, Carla Cook & Allan Harris, vocals; Lafayette Harris, piano; Paul Beaudry, bass; Darrell Greene, drums
In our last post we shared a little of the backstory behind Rene Marie’s controversial performance of “Lift Ev’ry Voice & Sing / Star Spangled Banner” in 2008. Now you can see her perform this song live from the Bridgestone Music Festival. Her version of the song is available on her Motema release Voice of My Beautiful Country (March 8th). Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of her version.
Rene Marie’s sixth album and Motema debut Voice of My Beautiful Country hits the nation March 8th. The 14 track release addresses the singers experience as a black woman growing up in the Civil Rights Era and her unflagging patriotism for America. The duality of conflict and pride is a motif Marie has controversially addressed before – even inciting comment from President Barack Obama.
In 2008 Rene Marie was asked to sing the National Anthem at Denver’s State of the City address. The outcome was Rene singing Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, “the black national anthem” to the tune of The Star Spangled Banner. As a woman of color, Rene, felt compelled to incorporate both songs, arguing that the Star Spangled Banner is not ‘her’ anthem as it was written by Francis Scott Key, a plantation owner. (more…)