Marie Laveau


The 19th-century Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau’s biography is more speculation than fact, but her legend has reverberated well past her long life.  People still claimed to have seen her for years after her death at 87. In Latin America and the Caribbean secret drumming societies preserved  African music and religions for hundreds of years. Suppressed in the states, African music still deeply informed a wide number of genres,  but only in New Orleans did Voodoo seem to infuse a strange gumbo of legend and culture. The setting of the Southern climate, the lush greenery, humid overcasts, dark streets, and most of all the mysterious figure of a statuesque Voodoo Priestess inform this lyric for Kenny Barron’s haunting, evocative composition. (Clip from Kenny Barron’s “Quintet Images.”)



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Kenny Barron“One of the most articulate and polished mainstream-to-bop improvisers in the jazz of the last 40 years.” (The Guardian). For years the NYT labeled him the “pianist of choice,” certainly true for Stan Getz in their last legendary performances. Their duets are heartbreakingly lyrical and informed by the clarity found in the best of the genre. But Barron’s many sessions as a leader attest to his being a prolific composer as well. Being an NEA Jazz Master, among other accolades, is a reflection of the high esteem he holds. I was drawn to his compositions decades ago while in NYC, The desire to sing his melodies, surrounded by the complex coherence of his harmonic sensibility, however challenging, was compelling. More than two dozen of our collaborative lyrics and songs will eventually be available in the Shop.


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