By Howard Reich
Technically speaking, singer Rene Marie’s performance Friday night at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center could be called a jazz set.
More accurately, though, it amounted to an unlikely fusion of theater piece, performance art, self-styled choreography and, oh yes, some of the most expressive jazz singing one might hope to hear.
True, other vocalists command larger and more voluptuous instruments than Marie’s, a point made clear when she participated in a Sarah Vaughan homage in Orchestra Hall in 2016. Sharing a stage with Ann Hampton Callaway and Dee Alexander, Marie sounded small of voice and low of wattage by comparison.
But give her a stage to herself and an opportunity to shape an evening her way, and she clearly can make a statement that uses every inch of her vocal prowess and balletic grace.