Bold and ambitious, René Marie’s first live recording Live At Jazz Standard
is an aural postcard of a galvanizing three night stand at the venerated New York jazz club in late autumn 2002. Live At Jazz Standard
makes good on the potential Marie showed in her 2001 disc Vertigo
. Along with labelmate Carla Cook, Marie reaffirms MaxJazz’s reputation at the front of the smaller, more ambitious American jazz labels.
Marie and her trio flex their muscles over some inspired song selections and crafty arrangements. Marie scats hard on "It Might As Well Be Spring" and swings with the band on the album opener "’Deed I Do." A subtle reading of "I Loves You Porgy" works with wonderful interplay between Marie and pianist John Toomey; and the Marie-penned compositions "Shelter In Your Arms" and "Paris On Ponce" could someday go down as standards for young up-and-coming vocalists.
The centerpiece of the album is an emotionally charged ten-minute coupling of Ravel’s "Bolero" with Leonard Cohen’s "Suzanne." Set over a military cadence by drummer Howard Curtis, "Bolero/Suzanne" is a transcendent, fearless performance that sends Marie into the rarified air of modern contemporaries as Cassandra Wilson and Patricia Barber.