A Billie Holiday! A Celebration of Lady Day Mara Kaye, Marlon Martinez and the Marlonius Jazz OrchestraOur very own Mara Kaye returns to The Grand Annex to pay tribute to her Jazz hero, the one and only Lady Day presenting a collection of Billie Holiday’s iconic contributions to music with The Marlonius Jazz Orchestra, an 11-piece Big Band led and arranged by LA’s own virtuosic bassist and composer, Marlon Martinez.

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About Mara Kaye

Referred to by ‘Jazz Lives’ as “one of New York’s great gifts to the world” and praised by ‘The Wall Street Journal’ as “proof that things are getting better”, vivacious Brooklynite Mara Kaye is a “joyous phenomenon” whose voice transcends the earthly realm and floats to the heavens. With her raw and unapologetic style, she tells it like it is, leaving no room for sugar-coating. But don’t let her tough exterior fool you, because deep down, Mara possesses a heart of gold. Her talent is undeniable, and her voice, which has been compared to “Louis Armstrong’s trumpet at a rent party” by blues guitar legend Jimmy Vivino, has the power to tenderly knock you to the floor, leaving you in awe of her immense vocal prowess.

“She is a substantial stage personality… And her voice matches her larger-than-life presence. She is a new artist with deep roots. One with the emotional power and swing of Billie Holiday, the deep blue sorrows and joys of Bessie Smith, and always leavened with Brooklyn spice. Her heart is in her music and there is no pretense, no distance as audiences from here to Moscow, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the streets of New Orleans, and Brooklyn dives have found out. Mara Kaye is one of New York’s great gifts to the world.”

– Jazz Lives

Mara’s debut single, It Had to Be You, featuring roots and blues piano legend Carl Sonny Leyland, has garnered acclaim and steady rotation on LA’s premier jazz station, KJAZZ 88.1 FM. Her original tune, Dystopian Blues, was showcased on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ and performed live from her bedroom on CBS News in 2020. A recent collaboration with Brooklyn hip-hop legend AZ on his track Never Enough, featuring rapper Rick Ross, highlights how Mara continues to prodigiously push boundaries while defying genre expectations.

She is a proud faculty member of Centrum Foundation’s Voice Works program and past instructor at their Acoustic Blues Seminar, teaching voice masterclasses and performing alongside the country’s top blues and jazz artists. Mara continues to share her expertise and passion for singing and storytelling with aspiring artists across the country teaching her masterclass, “A Storyteller’s Guide to Singing the Blues”.

After a lifetime of living in New York, Mara is happy to call Los Angeles her home.

About Marlon Martinez

Hailing from Los Angeles, Marlon Martinez is a young virtuoso bassist and composer who has toured with a wide range of artists, notably Stewart Copeland, Mike Garson, Quatuor Ebène, and Wild Up. Marlon is the protégé of Stanley Clarke, a classical graduate of the Colburn Conservatory of Music, and he studied with legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter in New York City. Marlon is the music director and composer of his LA big band, Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. His classical orchestral experience includes the Verbier Festival Orchestra, New West Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. Marlon’s 2017 debut album Yours Truly is available worldwide with reviews by All About Jazz and L.A. Jazz Scene.

Dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Billy Strayhorn, Marlon created Ever Up And Onward: A Tribute To Billy Strayhorn in 2022, an eight-episode educational video series presented by the Colburn School that explores the life and music of Billy Strayhorn. As a Colburn Amplify Series artist, Marlon recorded an album, reviving known and lesser-known compositions by Billy Strayhorn with Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. The album, Marlonius | Strayhorn Vol. 1, will be released in 2024 and the single All Day Long is now available. Marlon was a guest speaker at the Library of Congress’ Salute To Strayhorn in June 2023, presenting his video series. He participated on a panel with Strayhorn experts Alyce Claerbaut, David Hajdu, Lisa Barg, and Robert O’Meally. Marlon’s Strayhorn projects are made possible by the continuous support of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc.