Rice, violinist, vocalist, songwriter, and arranger hails
from the Motor City - Detroit, Michigan - where jazz and
soul music is the historical centerpiece of the performing
Prior to, and after, receiving a Masters of Music degree from The University of Michigan, Marlene tirelessly strove to establish herself as an up and coming jazz musician, performing locally in numerous jazz groups and regional symphony orchestras. She taught music in the Detroit Public School system before relocating to Atlanta, GA where she joined the Savannah Symphony, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestras, as a violinist. While living in the Atlanta area she led her own band that performed steadily and received invitations to perform at the King Fest, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Spivey Hall and the Birmingham Jamboree.
Her move to New York in 1994 presented opportunities to hone her improvisational skills starting with her call to perform with jazz artist James Carter. She toured with Carter’s Chasing the Gypsy Band throughout Europe and the U.S. Her unique improvisational skills secured her a chair with the renowned jazz string quartet, Quartette Indigo, along with her distinguished band mate and fellow Detroiter Regina Carter.While a member of the Quartette, she went on to gain increasing notoriety for herself via noted performances in St. Lucia, Milan Italy, at The Kennedy Center and Symphony Space with James Blood Ulmer and at Lincoln Center where she performed with Cassandra Wilson.
As a session player, her recording credits include string performances on the smash debut albums by Lauryn Hill and India. Arie. She also has recording credits with Aretha Franklin, Joe, Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, and Michael Zenon and has done performance and recording work with famed actor/musician Avery Brooks. Her growing list of television and film credits include Saturday Night Live with India. Arie & Busta Rhymes, David Letterman with Aretha Franklin, Late Night with Conan O’Brien with Guided By Voices, soundtracks for the award winning motion picture Soul Food (The Goody Mob), Maid in Manhattan (Riis), and the PBS/American Experience biography of Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind.
Her nomadic travels have taken her around the world, from the month she visited and performed in Japan in the early 1990's, to her performances in France, Italy, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Trinidad and into Central/South America. One of her personal highlights as a performer took place at the Kennedy Center with her mentor, jazz violinist John Blake, during the performance of his “Celebration Of The Fiddle From Africa To America”. Ms. Rice is currently co-leader with the NYC based, jazz string group Sojourner, and is also a teaching artist-in-residence, and music program director, at the Noel Pointer Foundation in NYC.
Greg Osby: Symbols of Light A Solution, Blue Note
Steve Coleman: Genesis and the RCA, Victor
Quartette Indigo: Afrika! Afrika!, Savant Records
Sekou Sundiata: Long Story Short, Righteous Babe Records
Beyonce Knowles: Dangerously In Love, Columbia
Jessica Simpson: In This Skin, Columbia
India.Arie: Acoustic Soul, Motown
Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Columbia
Aretha Franklin: A Rose Is Still A Rose, Atlantic
Joe: Better Days, Jive Records
Lathun: Fortunate, Motown
DJ Rogers Jr.: Emosoul, Motown
Res: Maid In Manhattan Sound Track, Universal
Imaginary Homeland: Jump For George, Jumbie Records
Tim Robbins, Appleseed Records
Goody Mob: Soul Food Sound Track, La Face Records
Society of Soul: Brain Child, La Face Records
Tony Rich/Organized Noize, La Face Records
Spencer Barfield Arts Collective