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René Marie at Spoleto USA

June 5 at Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, Charleston, S.C.

Rodney Jordan, René Marie and Quentin Baxter at Spoleto

Although she is an Atlanta native who resides in Denver, it’s fair to say that René Marie has a special relationship with the Spoleto Festival and the city of Charleston, S.C. She has been a high-profile attraction at the annual performing arts festival for two of the past three seasons, and she recorded her most recent album, Experiment in Truth, on the College of Charleston campus, where most of Spoleto’s jazz concerts are staged.

There’s really no mystery surrounding Marie’s affinity with the Port City, since the member of her backup trio with the most seniority, percussionist Quentin Baxter, is a Charleston native-and, as the diva informed us during her 2009 concert at Gaillard Auditorium, the 28-year-old Baxter was the catalyst in bringing the other two members of the combo aboard, pianist Kevin Bales and bassist Rodney Jordan. After some persistent lobbying, Marie confided.

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