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Roanoke-born singer Rene Croan began her professional career at 15 as part of a hometown R&B band. Several years later, she married and retired from music to raise her two sons. In 1996, after sending her younger boy off to college, she resumed performing, this time as, in her words, “a self-taught jazz vocalist, [and] a career-student at Fitzgerald-Vaughan University.” Renaissance, Croan’s aptly titled debut CD, released last year on the Flat 5 label, introduced a velvet-voiced, self-assured artist ready to give critically acclaimed jazz singers a run for their money. On this consistently satisfying album, Croan’s melodic improvisations and thoughtful lyrical interpretations invigorate Ellington, Waller, and Rodgers & Hammerstein standards, and put a fresh spin on ’50s pop tunes, notably a blues-drenched reinvention of Patti Page’s weepy chart topper “Tennessee Waltz.” Renaissance has won Croan gigs at Virginia and Pennsylvania jazz festivals, and this week she makes her D.C. debut at Blues Alley. She’ll be backed by her band, JazzBone, featuring the excellent Richmond pianist Bob Hallahan, who has accompanied jazz vocal legend Sheila Jordan at several D.C. engagements. Tonight’s sets will be taped for a forthcoming live CD, scheduled to include Ellington’s “I Ain’t Got Nothing but the Blues,” Peggy Lee’s “I Love Being Here With You,” and Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” and some original compositions. Come contribute your applause to a recording that, with any luck, will earn Croan the national exposure she so richly deserves. At 8 and 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Rear. $16. (202) 337-4141. (Joel E. Siegel)