The latest "What's New" edition of Afterglow features the major-label debut of Cecile McLorin Salvant, a young singer who won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition award, the first all-ballads collection of veteran saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, and the return of Grammy –winning vocalist Dianne Reeves, with her first new CD in five years.
"What's New" song highlight: singer Rene Marie's "Weekend" depicts a woman being held captive, perhaps even literally, in a relationship. On her website Marie writes of the song
I know what it means to be verbally and emotionally abused, to feel trapped in a marriage and the ensuing powerlessness it engenders. I know the sad, domestic comedy of expressing anger by slamming pots and pans in the kitchen while preparing your abuser's favorite meal. I have experienced trying to drink enough to dull the emotional pain that a life like this causes…with "weekend" i am not trying to make a point. I am raising questions – "what constitutes abuse and force and freedom of choice?" and therein lies the dilemma: I am a composer, a lyricist. i have a question about something, but i don't have the answer. in the process of not seeking an answer but living the question, an idea forms in my brain and, shortly thereafter, the lyrics to a song are born. but wait! what's this? this one's not turning out nice and neat like "don't look at me like that" or "i like you". this one has a scenario that i cannot define. it…it continues coming out of me, unbidden. it is a story whose ending i do not know. should i still write it? what if it offends some fans? some friends? some family members? should i still sing it?