Born: February 12 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Well respected on the East Coast as an inventive jazz singer, arranger, songwriter and educator, L'Tanya Mari's much-anticipated debut CD as a leader, A Teardrop of Sun is due to be release early 2009. The project is an eclectic mixture of songs that include fresh versions of standards along with numbers that are lesser-known but quite worthy, ranging from straightahead jazz to bossa novas, sambas, blues and modern fusion. Of the standards, I particularly love 'You Go To My Head,' says L'Tanya. It connects with and means a lot to many people even though it is decades old. It tells a story that is still relevant and has a life of its own, qualities that I hope are true of all of the songs that I perform.
L'Tanya Mari', who grew up in Philadelphia, has always been surrounded by jazz. I remember hearing Charlie Parker's recording of 'April In Paris' early on. Noticing that I was resonating more with fusion in my teen years, my father tried to tip the scales a bit by buying me some of the earlier recordings of Sarah, Ella and Carmen. That did it! By the time I was 17, I was out at record stores looking for other jazz vocal albums.
Early signs seemed to indicate L'Tanya was going to be an instrumentalist, as she studied cello for seven year and then added piano into the mix, “but as I tended to hum along with my cello playing, my cello teacher suggested that I should add singing to my list of goals.
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. While residing in Washington D.C. and the north east corridor, sitting in at jam sessions helped her secure gigs, build up her skills as a jazz singer, and increase her repertoire. 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.
Since her graduation, L'Tanya has become an active music educator in addition to performing regularly throughout the Philadelphia and Washington, DC metro area. I enjoy learning from my students. I have a roster of 40 students on average, and everyone is different. Some are preparing to go to school for jazz vocal and studies, others just want to learn specific things like basic theory, while there are some who just want to learn how to feel comfortable singing in front of people. It is rewarding finding what they need and passing on the knowledge that I have.
Although her singular voice is well known in the DC area, with the release of A Teardrop of Sun, her fan base will no doubt be increasing exponentially. Remember the name �� you’ll be hearing a lot more from L’Tanya Mari’ for years to come.
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 Critic
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 and vocalist
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
Willing to teach: