"There are only two choices; evolve or dissolve. Some days I do a little of both."
Composer and Songwriter
“ 'Black Is' is a beautiful poem, it reminds me of something Billy Strayhorn would write.” - Lena Horne
With an eclectic and expansive career covering three decades, Marissa Dodge has become one of the most recorded composer/songwriters in the Midwest. Multi Grammy-winning legend Lena Horne, Grammy nominee and Concord recording artist Karrin Allyson, Downbeat Critics poll nominee Ed Reed, Resonance Records artist Greta Matassa, Debbie Duncan, Dennis Spears, Bruce Henry, Connie Evingson, Vikki True, Vicky Mountain, and Voice Trek, to name a few, have recorded Marissa's songs and sung her praises. Her music receives TV and radio airplay in more than 30 countries on Network and cable TV productions, commercials, and in countless live performances. Day and night, somewhere around the world, Marissa's music is heard. Her song "Black Is," the opening track of Lena Horne's latest Blue Note release, Seasons of a Life, has brought Marissa even wider recognition.
“Marissa is a gem. Great, just great! - Jack McDuff
Marissa has collaborated on projects with Grammy-winning arrangers, producers, composers, musicians, and vocalists including; Bob Freedman (Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Lena Horne, Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin, Wynton Marsalis, Phoebe Snow, Grover Washington Jr., Harry Belafonte, Joe Williams, Nnenna Freelon), Jeremy Lubbock (Joni Mitchell, Earth Wind & Fire, Al Jarreau, Chicago, Barbra Streisand, David Foster, Mikki Howard, Diane Schuur), Mike Renzi (Lena Horne, Mel Torme', Peggy Lee), Rodney Jones (Lena Horne, James Brown, Maceo Parker), Tommy Barbarella (Prince, Switchfoot), Charlie Elgart (Najee), Tony Axtell (Ricky Peterson [David Sanborn], Yukiko Isomura), Phil Kelly, Laura Caviani, Mary Louise Knutson, Adi Yeshaya (Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston), Kirk Johnson (Prince), the Hornheads, Lisa Keith (Janet Jackson), Angela Joy (Chaka Khan), Julius Collins, Amy Bryant, and Jazz greats Jack McDuff (George Benson, Pat Martino, Joe Henderson, Marlena Shaw), Irv Williams (Billy Eckstine, Fletcher Henderson, Mary Lou Williams), and Tonk Edwards (Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Dave Grusin, Don Grusin, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Stitt, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini).
“Marissa Dodge is one of America's finest lyricists.” - Bob Freedman
A first call lyricist as well, Marissa has been commissioned to write words for every style of music from Contemporary Jazz, Pop, Alternative Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, Funk, Rap/Urban Contemporary, Brazilian, Big Band Jazz, to Musical Theater, Vocalese, Accapella, and Classical. She's penned lyrics on Jazz compositions by the legendary jazz organist Jack McDuff (Concord), R&B cuts for Prince alumni Tommy Barbarella (music available for licensing here ) and Kirk Johnson, Brazilian and Jazz ballads for producer/musician, Charlie Elgart (Najee), and pianist/composer Mary Louise Knutson. She's written libretto for musicals and Classical pieces performed by the Minnesota Orchestra Symphony Chorus, and Vocalese lyrics for such classics as "Mickey's Diner," for Voice Trek, arranged by Michelle Weir (scores available here). JAZZIZ magazine has featured two of Marissa's lyrics on their JAZZIZ compilation CD's; the smooth Brazilian track "Sweetest Kiss," sung by Connie Evingson, and "Bottom Line," a swinging Vocalese Blues sung by Vikki True. You can hear more of Marissa's lyrical work on Jazz artist Laura Caviani's CD As One (IGMOD), sung by Karrin Allyson and on Phil Kelly’s latest CD My Museum (Origin) sung by Greta Matassa, and September Light from internationally known artist Yukiko Isomura. It's been said that, “Marissa's words give wings to music that might not otherwise be heard.”
“Marissa Dodge should be heard.” - Shirley Horn
An accomplished musician and vocalist in her own right, Marissa began playing piano and singing at an early age and has performed in nearly every panorama since. The indelible blend of her compelling compositions, her soulful voice, and her stylized piano playing has impressed listeners, critics, and her contemporaries, consistently over the past 25 years. Of her it's been written, “No comparisons, no hype, simply an authentic artist with her own recognizable style and voice… her brilliance as a writer is equaled only by her talent as a performer… once you hear her you won't forget her music or her name.” She continues to perform with her trio and quartet at concert halls, colleges, and jazz clubs far and wide.
Her current recording endeavors include a project for the 2010 Grammy winning jazz label, Resonance Records with Tamir Hendelman (Barbara Streisand, Roberta Gambarini), Peter Sprague, (Al Jarreau, Chick Corea), Kevin Axt (Tierney Sutton), and Bill Wysaske (Michael Buble, Norah Jones). Marissa’s greatly anticipated LIVE recording featuring Marissa’s trio with special guests, and a retrospective solo project of her body of work are on the horizon.
“Marissa Dodge is a remarkable writer and lyricist, who captures the spirit of the music and transforms it into words." Ted Gioia, author of The History of Jazz
Marissa's way with words has led her down the literary path as well. She’s written artist bios, liner notes, reviews, website text, promotional package copy, and music essays for her company, A Way With Words. Her perceptive profiles and artful prose are defined as “words for artists by an artist.” Her unique interior to exterior vantage point in the music realm has also made her an insightful interviewer; her subjects have included Tommy Barbarella, Tonk Edwards, and Karrin Allyson, among others. Marissa is a featured music journalist, reviewer, and interviewer for Thomas Cunniffe's jazz history website https://jazzhistoryonline.com/Home_Page.html and Ted Gioia’s jazz website www.jazz.com. As a poet and author, she holds several collections in her cache, as well as an anthology of short stories. She’s designed a unique songwriting course entitled, Metamorphosis: The Seven Stages Of A Song. This inspiring work in progress involves more than ten years of development and is presented at seminars and master classes. Marissa is also a private instructor in piano, voice, songwriting, lyric writing, composition, and creative writing, and a sought after consultant on the business side of music. An ASCAP member since 1994, as well as a Harry Fox Agency member, she maintains her own publishing company, Marissa Dodge Publishing, and continues to add to her catalog and distribute her work throughout the known universe.
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