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Alt-rock bassist & composer Hannah Marks shares gentle track + video "Jessie's Lullaby" out now

Updated: Mar 18





"Hannah Marks' unapologetic forthcoming debut album masterfully blends jazz and rock over ten dynamic tracks that thoughtfully explore the human condition""Hannah has a fresh, modern, and original approach to playing the bass." - Marcus Printup, American jazz trumpeter"[Marks] demonstrated great maturity as [she] dispatched a set of genuine Printup originals filled with simple but artful melodies and subtle but swinging propulsion"

photo by: Lexi Brown

Today, New York City-based bassist, composer, and educator Hannah Marks shares the gentle, hopeful ballad and Twin Peaks-inspired video, "Jessie's Lullaby" out everywhere now. A single release party and free show will be held at Ornithology Jazz Club on October 9 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Marks' empowering, full-length debut album, Outsider, Outlier is due out October 20 via Out Of Your Head Records and is available to pre-order now. Celebrate the forthcoming LP at the official LP release show at The Jazz Gallery in NYC on November 3 with tickets on sale now. Out today, the dreamy, atmospheric, and tender, “Jessie’s Lullaby” quietly closes out an otherwise tumultuous album. Initially, the track was written for Jessie, a gentle but anxious dog Marks was watching one summer, but over time, its meaning has shifted. Marks shares, "I now realize that this song was foreshadowing the immense struggle and change that was about to come in my life: moving to a new city and leaving an abusive relationship." After significant personal growth, Marks is able to look back on the experiences that brought her to this song, instead of living in their midst. Marks continues, "Having now healed from the difficult experiences that led me to write this album, I can truly agree with my lyric, 'What scares you first will help you grow.'" For its accompanying music video, Marks channeled the intro to David Lynch’s cult classic Twin Peaks when gathering public domain footage via the Prelinger Archives. Stringing together various clips on film, video editor Mebil Rosales crafted this footage into a story of growth, with flowers bursting into bloom amidst a solitary journey across the country, mirroring the track's hopeful message. On its significance to her, Marks says, "This video transports me back to the memories I made during this time in my life–a transformative musical experience in the mountains of Canada, traveling across the Midwest to the East Coast, taking solace in nature along the way.” Last month, Marks released the gritty, angst-filled "(I Wanna Be Ur) 90s Dream Girl," capturing the essence of being a teenage girl, desperate to be seen and desired by her peers. When writing the song, Marks took a deep dive into her personal archive from high school–text messages, Facebook posts, diaries, and concert photos to channel this phase of her life and get appropriately into character. The track's inspiration is pulled partly from the bustling 2000s DIY rock scene of Des Moines, LA–Marks' hometown. Marks says, "I was always on the fringe of that scene, attending shows at the grungy yet legendary dive bar Vaudeville Mews, never able to work my way into playing with the young (mostly) men that made up the scene." Making this track finally allowed her to lean into her early influences and let go of any internal or external judgment. Marks continues, "It is transformative as it was truly the first time I allowed myself to embrace the rock influences that I set aside for years in order to further a career in jazz." The track's accompanying video, directed by Bruce Bales, brings viewers straight to the very world the track builds as it retraces her high school footsteps. It starts at her former high school and moves to local record store Zzz Records, and later, takes place outside the (now shuttered) Vaudeville Mews. Here, Marks becomes the desired subject as Marks explains, "The video documents my transformation from a shy girl into my punk-rock alter ego. Bales and I explored the concept of what would happen if I actually became the '90s dreamgirl'–teepeeing a bathroom, writing on the walls in lipstick, and smoking cigarettes ensued." Outsider, Outlier, Hannah Marks' unapologetic forthcoming debut album, masterfully blends jazz and rock over ten dynamic tracks that thoughtfully explore the human condition. A well-known rising bassist and jazz musician in New York City, the project allows Marks to present a new side of her versatile, dynamic artistry. Outsider, Outlier documents Marks’ search for belonging, love, and empowerment through examining key relationships in her life. Musically, radical tempo and stylistic changes represent the tumultuous nature of unhealthy relationships and ensuing bouts of anxiety. Marks uses elements of campy musical cliches and musical theater-like melodies to poke fun at her emotions, treat them with playful energy, and create a safe yet cathartic space to process her feelings. Using both the electric and double bass, the album documents her struggle to trust in herself and others — ultimately ending on a hopeful note with the lyric, “What scares you first will help you grow.” All music and lyrics were written by Hannah Marks and alongside her, collaborators on the album include Sarah Rossy (lead vocals), Lee Meadvin (guitar), Lex Korten (piano), Nathan Reising (alto saxophone), and Connor Parks (drums). The recording is a testament to her resilience during a tumultuous time, during which she took a deep creative dive into her artistic mission and purpose. The album was recorded at Bunker Studios in Brooklyn, NY with Caroline Davis as the in-studio producer and Meadvin heading up all post-production. It was engineered by Todd Carder and mixed and mastered by Meadvin. The forthcoming album allows Marks to reflect on the difficult moments and relationships in her life and proudly celebrate how far she's come, and how they've made her who she is today. "Composed in my early twenties, 'Outsider, Outlier' is a manifesto on how to empower yourself by breaking free from harmful relationships," Marks shares. "The girl that experienced these events was innocent, lonely, and heartbroken, only to emerge a secure, loved, and whole woman." Blending her deep-rooted jazz education her love of rock music and her influences, the project carries a sound all its own alongside acclaimed musicians. Marks continues, "Throughout the process of writing this album, I embraced the grunge and experimental rock music I grew up loving but had always set aside in favor of my “serious” jazz pursuits. I chose not to abandon my jazz background, instead gathering a group of accomplished improvisers to bring a free, daring spirit to the music. " The previously shared playful title track emerged while Marks was taking a classical composition class at Indiana University. It was in that class that Marks first heard composer Kate Soper’s Voices From the Killing Jar, from which she ultimately drew inspiration, pointing specifically to movement V. Diving into the song's subject matter, Marks shares, "The lyrics are haughty and disdainful, channeling my frustration with a friend group that was icing me out at the time. My status as an outsider and outlier work in conjunction, giving me fuel to distinguish myself from my peers that I no longer fit in with." Here, in her sincere search for belonging, she finds power in the very things that make her different from those around her. Bass Magazine, who debuted the single and video, hint that this title track is just a glimpse into the vastness and magic that is coming on the full record, saying "Marks is gearing up to bring listeners into her layered, expansive sonic universe with a deeply personal debut album that is a culmination of her talent, lived experiences, and wide breadth of musical knowledge." Channeling Alice in Wonderland, another source of inspiration, in the track's self-directed accompanying video, Marks roams through Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Playful and dreamy, Marks shares about the visual, "I wanted the video to feel as quirky and unhinged as the song does." From frolicking in the woods to having a tea party and playing a game of croquet, Hannah Marks finds peace and joy in her own company. Hannah Marks was born and raised in Des Moines, IA where she first played guitar until she discovered the cello in fourth grade. By the end of high school, she found the double bass and never put it down. At Indiana University, she immersed herself in the Jacobs School of Music, and by 2019, she had moved to New York City and attended the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in Washington D.C. where she met trumpeter Marcus Printup, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, and pianist Jason Moran. Early in 2020, Marks performed in Printup's WBGO concert series, and with the other two members of the group–keyboardist Miles Lennox and drummer TJ Reddick–DownBeat’s Phillip Lutz who covered the concert, wrote that the young musicians, “demonstrated great maturity as they dispatched a set of guileless originals filled with simple but artful melodies and subtle but swinging propulsion.” Marks has played a slew of festivals such as the Detroit Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, 80-35 Music Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival, and Indy Jazz Festival, and also leads a jazz group, Hannah Marks Quartet. In addition to her own music, Marks is passionate about education and has led masterclasses on music and entrepreneurship at colleges across the country, including Brown University, Indiana University, and University of Denver. Now, Marks is gearing up to bring listeners into her layered, expansive sonic universe with a deeply personal debut album that is a culmination of her talent, lived experiences, and wide breadth of musical knowledge. Marks will celebrate the release of the forthcoming album with a live show in NYC on November 3 at NYC's The Jazz Gallery. There will be two sets, with one at 7:30 pm and one at 9:30 pm and tickets are on sale now here. The quietly optimistic "Jessie's Lullaby" out everywhere now sees Hannah Marks find strength in healing. Outsider, Outlier, Marks' fiery debut album, is due out October 20 via Out Of Your Head Records and is available for pre-order now. Celebrate the LP at the official album release show at The Jazz Gallery in NYC on November 3 with tickets on sale now. Connect with Hannah Marks on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and stay tuned for much more from the rising musician.


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