Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Lady Sings Jazz & Blues: Stolen Moments
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B
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An Underrated Ross Treasure
Todd J. Brandt | New York, NY United States | 03/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Diana Ross has, in the course of her four-decades-long career, tackled nearly every possible musical genre: pop, soul, rock, disco, country, Broadway; she's even performed with operatic superstars Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Of course, she very famously delved into the world of jazz and blues with her Oscar-nominated turn as Billie Holiday in the 1972 biopic, "Lady Sings the Blues."To commemorate the twentieth anniversary year of that historic film, Ross assembled a stellar group of jazz greats, past and present, to accompany her in a one-night-only concert at The Ritz jazz nightclub in New York. The results are immensely pleasing.Ross is certainly not an improvisational jazz artist a la Betty Carter, nor is she as deeply invested in a song as was Billie Holiday; but she clearly has a love and appreciation for the material at hand, as well as her famously flexible, delicately beautiful voice--which is supple enough to bend to most any demands.Not too surprisingly, Ross fares best with the torch songs and ballads on this set. Her sense of swing is a bit simplistic, rendering such tunes as "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Mean to Me" as cute, and little more. Of the uptempo numbers, a sweetly swinging "There's a Small Hotel" and a surprisingly personal "T'ain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do" fare the best."Lover Man," "Don't Explain," "The Man I Love" and "Little Girl Blue" are exemplary performances, particularly the latter--with Ross sounding as gorgeously pure and clear as on her 1973 studio recording for the "Touch Me in the Morning" LP. "Good Morning Heartache" and "God Bless the Child" are also given sensitive treatments, with Ross' vocalese comparing favorably to her own "Lady Sings the Blues" soundtrack recordings.The unquestioned highlights, however, are a knockout rendition of "You've Changed," which will break your heart, and an absolutely spine-tingling "Strange Fruit." Anyone who has ever dismissed Ross as a lightweight pop artist is directed immediately to this chilling, stunning performance. The sound is uniformly crisp, clear and wonderfully mastered. The crack jazz talent backing Ross has ample room to show off their chops, and they accompany the star very well and very respectfully. Ross, who has been criticized for being perhaps a very self-absorbed performer, is clearly delighted to be sharing the stage with these men. One particularly happy reunion is that of Ross with her former musical director, Gil Askey, who helmed such important milestones in her career as "The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart" (1967), "Lady Sings the Blues" (1972) and accompanied the lady onstage through her legendary, Tony-winning "Evening with Diana Ross" tour (1976).At around the same time as this concert, Ross apparently recorded a studio album of Harold Arlen standards (the DVD edition includes what may be a preview, in the form of Arlen's "Let's Fall in Love"--the one song in the set that Ross had never recorded or performed in any other setting before). It remains locked in the vaults. With the inspired performances of much of the material here, the mouth waters at the thought of Ross torching her way through "The Man That Got Away," "Come Rain or Come Shine," et al. Motown, are you listening?"
Chasing Natalie Cole
uhhmone | St. Louis,, Mo. & Harlem USA | 08/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I waited until 2002 to pick this up because I guessed Ms. Ross was jealous of Natalie Cole's Grammy winning jazz performanc. (I have the remastered version) However, I could tell Ms. Ross really enjoyed doing this live performance and I give it 5 stars because the technical recording is stellar. Otherwise Ross brings a delightfully dainty mood to these selected Billy Holliday tunes. Curiously the CD follows Holliday history. The arrangements are oddly melodic as if they took on Ross'light approach to each song. It took a lot of nerve to push up on "Strange Fruit" with little to no initial acompaniment, but she pulls it off with grace and magnificence; and, I agree Ross is not Billie (who is???) but she is definitely the Boss. This musical project was very well done with Roy Hargrove et al in her band blazing away. I think the arranger, Gil Askey, and the engineers deserve much credit because this is a splendid effort. You may not like Diana Ross but denying her talent as a singer (this was really beautiful) and, and, and as a producer will no longer sit with me without an argument. Being an avant garde jazz fan that last line sounds strange, even to me!!!"
Little Girl Blue Captured Live In New York City
Kristian Björn | Hellerup, Copenhagen - Denmark | 11/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Diana Ross is a fine singer. All you have to do is listen to her Billie Holiday stuff! It's marvellous!" (Marvin Gaye).
With time - two decades after the film - these songs have matured wonderfully in Diana's voice and touching reading. The concept is like good wine - it just gets better with time.
She is still the greatest and most prominent performer of Holiday's songs and the Lady Sings the Blues segment remains an emotionally and artistic highlight in any concert she does. However, this is a rare chance to hear all the songs performed and recorded exclusively in a one-night-only concert at The Reds nightclub in New York City. The songs are really comfortable in N.Y. and they are certainly comfortable with Miss Ross and her great band. This is a fine and very wholesome CD - highly recommanded to any fan of Diana Ross and Jazz/Blues/Standards."