Jazz and Social Justice: Volume 21. – René Marie – Of Sound Mind

In a span of two decades, René Marie has cemented her reputation not only as a singer but also as a composer, arranger, actress and educator. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by icons of past generations, this two-time Grammy nominee melds jazz with elements of spirituals, folk, R&B, classical and even country to create a captivating hybrid style. Her body of work is musical, but it’s more than just music. It’s an exploration of the bright and dark corners of the human experience, a musical architecture for the human spirit.

Told through a series of vignettes animated over 16mm plates, filmmaker Rachel Kessler’s short film Tuning René Marie is a deep dive into the heart and soul of René’s music, creating a call-and-response between René’s story and her music, and highlighting René thoughts about music, healing and compassion.

At the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, René will perform, followed by a screening of the film. Following that, René and Rachel will join series host Larry Blumenfeld and other for a panel discussion about mental health, spiritual journeys and the power of song.

René Marie, vocals
Xavier Davis, piano
Elias Bailey, bass
Quentin E Baxter, drums


René Marie is a very rare artist. A modern vocal icon, her unique artistry has been recognized with multiple domestic and international awards including two GRAMMY Award nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album. A lyricist / composer / arranger / playwright / actress / educator / speaker / and social justice activist, René is an Americana roots artist with jazz improvisational chops. Influenced by her southern upbringing, she incorporates folk, R&B, country and classical elements into her music and approach, lending her a unique sound and style that have captivated audiences worldwide. Over a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless festival and concert stage performances, René inspires people with her artistry, her life story and her ability to affirm the power of the human spirit.

Rachel Kessler began her career in film directing 20 Baht, a short documentary about child trafficking in Bangkok in 2014 that was instrumental in exposing and indicting a child trafficker. Originally from Atlanta, Rachel studied History at Williams College with a concentration on the History of Liberty in the United States. Her work is centered around themes of liberty, equality and belonging.

Wed, Apr 19
7:00 pm

National Jazz Museum in Harlem

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