Press & Radio Reviews
With a clear and vibrant tone that ranges from the lilting falsetto to the huskiness of a Sarah Vaughn, Philadelphia-bred L'Tanya Mari' displays a vocal prowess that is not seen very often. Carmen Miller, Jazz USA
M U S I C N O M I N A T I O N S
Thanks to all Washington Area Music Association members and friends for your support and the nominations.
G R A N T S & A R T F U N D I N G
2016-2017 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
2015-2016 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
2014-2015 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
2013-2014 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
2012-2013 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
2011-2012 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
2010-2011 Virginia Commission Performing Tour Artist
Creative Communities Fund Grant-Source Festival’s Artistic Blind Dates Summer 2010
2010 DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH)
2010 Seventh annual Dance DC Festival
2009 DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH)
2009 Sixth annual Dance DC Festival
2008 DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH)
2008 Fifth annual Dance DC Festival
A C C O L A D E S & C O M P E T I T I O N S
20th Annual Billie Holiday Competition 2009 Finalist
2004 Savanah On Stage - Semi-Finalist
PRESS & RADIO REVIEWS
L´Tanya Mari´ could not help but be so profoundly affected by music, considering her native Philadelphia. After a well-rounded jazz education, including the tutelage of Grady Tate, and establishment as an educator, Mari´ releases her debut, A Teardrop of Sun. Mari´ enters an already crowded market, one populated with as many difference singing styles and accompaniment configurations as there are singers.
How does she make herself stand out? With a perfectly unadorned and simply phrased vocal style riding a perfect pitch voice. Her approach is not unlike that of a young Wynton Marsalis, who debuted with sharply-coiffed early recordings, well conceived and played.
If viewed as a masters seminar, A Teardrop of Sun could be heard as an effort to display the rich loam of material available to the jazz singer. Mari´ could have very easily produced a disc of standards that would have been thoughtfully chosen and played and delivered a more than acceptable listening experience. Instead, she goes light on the "standard" standards and proposes a few rarely played compositions of her own for consideration.
Bill Evans' "Very Early" and Arlen/Koehler's "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" are about as different as two songs can be. Mari´ takes them and with the input of her crack rhythm section and support musicians, infuses them with her jazz vision: relaxed, considered,urbane. Mari´'s brand of jazz vocals is neither about taking chances nor playing it safe. It is all in the presentation - one that is sleekly professional and warmly down home. Both elements are evident on the anthemic "Nothing Will Be As it Was" and the vocal take on Chick Corea's "Crystal Silence." Mari´'s confidence and command are present and palpable.
"Star Eyes," "That Old Black Magic," and "You Go To My Head" all are given fresh, straight-ahead reading. Pianist Harry Appelman grounds the pieces while Mari´ weaves her magic spell of impeccable technique and true feeling.
C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz
In listening to L'Tanya Mari's debut CD A Teardrop Of Sun, one is first struck by the beauty of her voice. The next reaction is admiration for her ability to make the difficult interval jumps on Bill Evans' "Very Early" sound effortless. By the time Ms. Mari' has displayed her versatility on Milton Nascimento's "Nothing Will Be As It Was" (great long tones) and the swing standard "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues," she has won overboth this listener and most likely every audience.
There are many fine female jazz singers on the scene today but, with the release of A Teardrop Of Sun, L'Tanya Mari' immediately emerges as one of the top contenders. It is not just that she has an inspired repertoire (from Chick Corea's "Crystal Silence" and "This Is New" to "That Old Black Magic"), impeccable intonation and a pretty voice. Most impressive are her choice of notes, her use of space and silence, and her intelligent way of improvising melodically. She pays tribute to each composer's intent while uplifting each tune through her phrasing, subtle emotions, and solid sense of swing.
A variety of instrumentations are utilized on this CD, from a rhythm section and guest appearances by one horn soloist to tasteful duets with pianist Harry Appelman and guitarist Paul Wingo. A very well-conceived set, L'Tanya Mari's A Teardrop Of Sun is one of the finest vocal releases of 2009.
Scott Yanow, Jazz Historian/Journalist
O's Notes: This is L' Tanya's debut recording and she sings with the poise and control of a polished veteran. "Star Eyes" is one of many fine ballads in this set of nine newly arranged standards. Among the best are "You Go To My Head", "That Old Black Magic" and "The More I See You". Her tone is clear and heart felt. Marí' should delight fans for a long time.
D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz
Ms. Mari' has a strong vocal instrument with coloratura range. L'Tanya sings a haunting "Head," accompanied by only by Paul Wingo on guitar. It's a track which leaves the listener looking forward to her next release.
Alan Bargebuhr, Cadence Magazine
With a clear and vibrant tone that ranges from the lilting falsetto to the huskiness of a Sarah Vaughn, Philadelphia-bred L'Tanya Mari' displays a vocal prowess that is not seen very often. To call her a diva would be premature, but not unwarranted. To call her a songbird is a bit hackneyed, but it fits. To call her fabulous hits the mark.
Her debut CD A Teardrop of Sun, is the first step in a career that should carry her into the annals of vocal jazz history. Her daring and difficult rendition of Bill Evans "Very Early" is the first track on the release and shows her vocal range and abilities right from the start. Crystal Silence is a somber and beautiful lament of love lost.
That Old Black Magic is well known and oft used, but she squeezes a bit of jazzy new life into it. I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues is a smooth give and take with guitarist Paul Wingo. The vocal abilities of L'Tanya shine on all of the tracks including the lovely The more I see. Get a copy and own the beginning of a legacy.
Carmen Miller, Jazz USA
L' Tanya Mari' - A TEARDROP OF SUN: This lady jazz singer takes me back to a day & time when giants were the ones that ruled the airwaves...her delivery reminds one of such greats as Ella Fitzgerald & Sarah Vaughn. The band she has backing her splendid singing has far too many players to itemize here, but suffice it to say that they smoke the joint... as does she!
The second track in, "Nothing Will Be As It Was" is a winner & full of spirit & power. The tune I enjoyed above all others, though, was "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues"... nice smooth guitar lead-in, then L' Tanya (literally) slides right in to one of the most righteous blues pieces I've heard in years... definitely my favorite piece on the album! The "jazziest" piece (for my ears, anyway) was "That Old Black Magic", in great part because of the arrangement... this definitely sounds like an original, not just a cover... I'm lovin' this one, too!
What makes a jazz singer is the soul they're able to pass on to the listener, & L' Tanya Mari' has that down to a "T"... she's one of the best jazzers I've heard this year, & gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to be sure.
Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation issue #95
With a plethora of jazz vocalist CDs being released everyday especially lately, how does one go about choosing a worthwhile CD to add to their collection. This brings me to my introduction of a Virginia based vocalist by the name of L’Tanya Mari’. You know so many times there is an assumption that because a vocalist is on a major label that somehow that CD will be head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. That is completely not the case in many circumstances and especially not lately. The major labels keep throwing CDs out to the industry and seeing what sticks and what doesn’t. Well, this lady sticks, so much so, you will find her sticking to each rib like a satisfying meal that you have waited for all day for, while it was cooking in the kitchen.
The meal begins with a classic Bill Evans cut “Very Early.” L’Tanya’s vocal command is demonstrated clearly in her beautiful negotiation of the two-octave melody, easily navigating over the multiple keyed harmonic platform.
My next favorite course was “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” a show piece for L’Tanya’s wide vocal range and rhythmic command. Her command is in full display as she never losses the sultry blues feeling through-out the 5:27 minute steamy selection.
The meal ends with a perfect dessert. The rapport between guitarist Paul Wingo and L’Tanya is evident in “You Go to My Head.” The two make this duet setting breath with life, L’Tanya’s falsetto notes are always richly supported by Wingo’s thoughtful voicings. It is a treat to hear L’Tanya’s voice exposed so that one can appreciate the clear warm tones she is able to invoke from her sweet voice, her vibrato on this selection is very reminiscent of the great Billy Holliday.
Mari studied with the celebrated drummer-singer Grady Tate who influences (the artist’s bio states) inclined her phrasing, urging her to always connect with an audience by really feeling the lyrics.
A Teardrop of Sun may only be a debut release but it comes across as a Junior outing the minute you pop it into the player. A disc worth adding to your jazz collection by any means but, be sure it has its own special place not thrown in with the rest of the vocal CDs on your shelf being pumped into the market lately. Place it by Vaughn or Holliday and it will truly be among its piers.
Jeff Becker, Jazz Sensibilities
You have heard the term songbird referenced many times with regard to vocalists sometimes applying sometimes not. Songbird is defined as, having a melodious song or call. Singer L’Tanya Mari’ can certainly fit into this definition with ease. Her crystalline voice exhibits clear ringing falsetto and husky low mellifluous qualities reminiscent of Sarah Vaughn. Not to say that Mari’ is a clone of Vaughn, but it would be correct to say she has certainly studies and absorbed Vaughn in her phrasing and especially in her vibrato and low range interpretations.
L'Tanya Mari', who grew up in Philadelphia showed early signs that she was going to be an instrumentalist. She studied cello for seven years and then added piano into the mix. While earning a Bachelors Degree in Music Business at Howard University, L'Tanya Mari' was also on her way to becoming a notable jazz singer.
She began studying with the celebrated drummer-singer Grady Tate who influenced her phrasing, urging her to always connect with an audience by really feeling the lyrics. Hungry for a deeper musical knowledge, L'Tanya pursued a Masters degree in Jazz Studies at the University Of The Arts while coming into her own as a jazz singer.
With the release of her debut CD A Teardrop of Sun, Mari’ is well on her way to creating a calling card of distinction with her vocal prowess that truly can hold up in the light of day. Mari’ stays true to the melody but creates a warmth and clarity not found in many vocalists today. Her technique is on the mark as well as her pitch as exhibited in the vocally challenging rendition of Bill Evans "Very Early" the first cut on her CD.
I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues,” finds L’Tanya in a relaxed conversation with guitarist Paul Wingo. The two build the selection to a seductively paced tempo with L’Tanya displaying a true command of the blues ornamental language.
Mari’ is certainly well worth adding to your vocal CD collection especially those who appreciate and enjoy hearing the writer’s true intent with the melody, a songbird in jazz and a jazz vocalist well on her way.
Geannine Reid, EJazzNews Jazz
"Wonderful Jazz Vocals" Philly was the birthplace of American Bandstand and the hometown of folks like Paul Anka. But Philadelphia also has had a strong presence in the world of jazz. It was this element that influenced a young girl who later in life decided to follow her dream of becoming a jazz singer.
This singer goes by the name of L’Tanya Mari’. And she has recorded a superb album of jazz standards. The title of this album is A Teardrop of Sun.
You can tell that this is going to be an exceptional album when you hear L’Tanya Mari sing the first song, the great Bill Evans tune, Very Early.
A good jazz singer usually is backed up by an equally good group of musicians. And there are some very good ones on this album. Harry Appelman plays piano on several of the songs. David Jernigan is on bass and Tony Martucci plays drums on four of the songs. Alejandro Lucini plays drums and does percussion of three other songs on the album. Paul Wingo is on guitar for a couple of songs and Lyle Link plays tenor and soprano sax on three of the songs.
Light but a bit of a toe-tapper, L’Tanya does a good job with "Nothing Will Be As It Was."
Nice subtle blues guitar helps sell the song "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues."
Lilting vocals make this cover of "Star Eyes" very enjoyable.
L’Tanya gives off the true essence of the classic jazz vocalist with her rendition of the Gershwin tune, "This Is New."
Then there is a good version of "The More I See."
I don’t often see covers of the Chick Corea song, "Crystal Silence." It is well done here.
"That Old Black Magic" is pretty much a must for any jazz vocalist’s playlist. It is extremely well done on this album.
L’Tanya puts her own little spin on this classic tune.
L’Tanya ends the album with a wonderful rendition of the Dizzy Gillespie tune, "You Go To My Head."
L’Tanya Mari’ is a terrific jazz vocalist. With albums like A Teardrop of Sun, she may well be on the way to becoming the next great jazz diva.
Bruce Von Stiers, Bvsreviews
This debut album from L’Tanya Mari' has a few surprises that are worth listening to, especially “I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues,” and “Star Eyes,” a song that reminds me of a young Sarah Vaughan (check out Mercury release of Golden Hits), or as my daughter rightfully said, “more like a young Natalie Cole.” And she is right, especially upon closer attention to “This Is New” and “The More I See You.
Jean-Keith Fagon, Hill Rag
The first impression I get listening to L’Tanya Mari’ is of a young Ella - not only in the quality of her voice, but in how effortless she makes it all sound. The Philadelphia native has been working along the east coast - she’s assembled a group of Washington, DC area veterans for this first disc, which includes nine familiar tracks; but not the same old bunch of standards.
The opening track, “Very Early” is one of those old/new tunes - a Bill Evans waltz about fresh love - with a challenging melody that Ms. Mari’ handles easily. The track also allows drummer Tony Martucci and pianist Harry Appelman a chance to shine. But all of the backing band - David Jernigan on bass, Paul Wingo on guitar, percussionist Alejandro Lucini, and saxophonist Lyle Link - do a fine job of framing Ms. Mari’s fine voice.
Ms. Mari’ never sounds more like Ella than on the very intimate “You Go To My Head.” Surprisingly, she does it without cloning Ella’s version of the tune; but rather, by putting her own imprint on the song - which incidentally features a fine solo by Mr. Wingo on guitar.
Other favorites of mine include Gershwin’s “This Is New,” and Milton Nascimento’s “Nothing Will Be As It Was.” The lyrics from that track contribute the title of the disc.
Since we’re from the same part of the country, I’ll be seeking out Ms. Mari’s live performances. If you’re not on the east coast - perhaps you need to pick up a copy of this highly recommended disc.
Doug Boynton, GirlSingers
There are enough female singers out there who will never get past the wanna-be stage, but let it be said that L'Tanya Mari' isn’t one of them. There’s an easy quality to her voice, and I tend to gravitate toward such singers. You know ... no need to impress with swirls and curls among the girls. Instead Mari impresses with her sincere delivery on “ Very Early,” “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues,” “Star Eyes,” and a few choices of more recent vintage.
George Fendel, Jazzscene
The vocal jazz scene seems to be growing stronger all the time, and this new debut album by L'Tanya Mari' is a good example of this.
A Teardrop of Sun seems to merge soulful jazz with a drop of bebop and some good old rhythm and blues, all mixed into a very commercial sounding miscellany which should please many listeners. The nine tracks include songs by Bill Evans [Very Early], Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer [That Old Black Magic], Chick Corea [Crystal Silence], Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill [This Is New]. Ms Mari' offers magisterial performances on most of the tracks, her mellifluous voice reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan, Ella and Dinah - a continuation of the jazz diva line. As a music student Ms Mari' studied cello and piano, and while she doesn't play either on this record her voice certainly uses the cadences of the cello on some of the songs to add extra layers of interest.
Of course it helps to have a good band backing the singer and there is a wonderfully simpatico one on this album: Harry Appelman on piano, David Jernigan, on bass, Tony Martucci on drums, Alejandro Lucini on percussion, Paul Wingo on guitar and Lyle Link on saxes.
A Teardrop of Sun is a wonderfully exciting debut album which should launch L'Tanya Mari' onto the international jazz stage.
Starts with pretty jazzy piano. She has a nice voice. I thought one time this was Margot Reymundo and I really like her, so that’s good. L’Tanya has a really pretty voice. It’s kind of sophisticated jazz with tinkly piano.
These are not her original compositions, but they’re quite nice. "Star Eyes" really lets her vocal ability shine. It’s lovely. There is some fun scatting on "This is New". "Crystal Silence" is beautiful. It makes me want to dance. In a ball gown. She does That Old Black Magic which is a favorite of mine. The original is on many of my party mixes (yes my parties are more like cocktail hour than dance club extravaganzas). But her version is really different and so far I’m not sure I’m behind it. Maybe more listens are in order.
While she didn’t write these particular songs, she is a musician; she plays cello and piano and actually took up voice later on. This record is good for those martini drinking, fancy dress wearing nights. You know… those nights.
Amy Lotsberg, Producer of Collected Sounds
It takes a hell of a lot of effort for me to not only like vocal jazz, but for me to want to listen to it. It’s generally on the bottom of my list, but every now and then there’s a singer that makes you want to stop, bow down and worship what you’re hearing. A force that would lead to many encores wherever she performs.
John Book, The Run Off Groove
I keep listening to A Teardrop of Sun! From the very challenging opening track, the rarely sung Bill Evans classic "Very Early" to the closer, a poignant and beautifully sparse version of "You Go To My Head", this CD's a winner and a most impressive debut recording! I look forward to hearing more.
Grady Tate, Drummer and Jazz Vocalist
East Coast jazz vocalist carries on the in the tradition vibe and lets you draw your own line in the sand. Is she in the tradition of Sarah Vaughn or Cassandra Wilson? Small matter, she’s at home whether turning it out on Chick Corea or Harry Warren or Louie Prima. If you dig vocalists in this bag, this is a goodie bag you can pick up without worrying about it being heavy lifting.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap
When I listened to L'Tanya's debut CD, a myriad of feelings and reactions begin to surface -- questions, warmth, a chill, a smile.... I felt a sense of beauty encompassing many different COLORS! Her eclectic choice of tunes, her vocal quality and range, her choice of wonderful musicians, all add up to some soulful listening that's's rare these days! "You Go Girl"...I enjoyed it immensely!
Trudy Pitts, Pianist / Organist / Composer / Teacher / Vocalist
From the very first time I heard L'Tanya, it was clear that she had a quality that is increasingly rare in young singers, and very difficult to teach... an authentic sense of the jazz idiom.
Don Glanden, Composer / Pianist / Educator - Division Head of Graduate Jazz Studies at The University of Arts
R A D I O R E V I E W S
Ric Mancuso, KMHD 89.1 FM, Portland OR
L' Tanya's voice has flavors reminiscent of Diane Reeves and she possesses the power and poise of a veteran jazz singer, a pleasant surprise in a saturated world of ballad Diva parlor singers.
Dr. Mike Matheny, Radio (IO)
A mature voice for a debut album. I predict that she will do well with this CD. She just has that sultry, always in tune soul that sounds so rich and believable..
Marcello Tolliver, WPFW Washington, DC
She has a beautiful voice, and the band compliments it!!
LJ Palardy, WRUV FM Burlington VT
Accompanied by musicians of the D.C area, this vocalist makes a strong howing on her debut release. Good command, good intonation and she swings.
S Y N D I C A T E D J A Z Z F E A T U R E S
Jim Wilke's "Jazz After Hours" (12x's)
Jazzweek Radio Chart
- - Charted at #52 the week of 4/20/09
CMJ Jazz Chart
- - Charted at #30 week of 5/18/09
CHMR Radio Chart
- -Charted at #6 week of 5/4/09
I N T E R V I E W S
Finding The B-Side
-Interview by Mimi Soul