Search - Renée Fleming, Fred Hersch, Bill Frisell :: Haunted Heart

Haunted Heart
Renée Fleming, Fred Hersch, Bill Frisell
Haunted Heart
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

While countless fans flock to see soprano Renee Fleming's performances of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro because she's got the voice and the dramatic ability to handle such meaty roles, the versatile singer throws ...  more »


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All Artists: Renée Fleming, Fred Hersch, Bill Frisell
Title: Haunted Heart
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Decca
Release Date: 5/10/2005
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 602498806029

While countless fans flock to see soprano Renee Fleming's performances of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro because she's got the voice and the dramatic ability to handle such meaty roles, the versatile singer throws her fans a curveball on Haunted Heart, singing popular standards and ballads as well as a few altered classical pieces. In her liner notes, Fleming calls this album a "look back at the road not taken" -- she played a weekly gig in a jazz club while in school. Nonetheless, her feel for the material here is undeniable. Interestingly, she drops her voice a full octave from her usual tessitura, and the change reveals a robust gospel-oriented approach filled with dramatic breaths and moans. The lyrical Fred Hersch (piano) and the idiosyncratic Bill Frisell (guitar) provide support, and both are adventurous jazz players who create subtle and uniquely haunting backdrops. It adds up to an interesting cross-section of ideas well carried off by the generous talents of all involved. --Tad Hendrickson \ Interview with Renee Fleming
Renee Fleming speaks about recent projects, including her memoir The Inner Voice and her recent Handel CD, in our interview.

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CD Reviews

Perfect for late night with a glass of port and candles.
G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 05/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No one really would have suspected it, but Fleming truly does have a strong pop/jazz style voice. At times there are elements or hints of Carly Simon, Phoebe Snow, Nancy Wilson and, oddly, Cher, yet it is a unique sound all hers and and not at all derivative.

Many of the cuts reveal a juicy low voice that purrs and then opens up strongly recalling Nancy Wilson in similar material.

Fleming's cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" is about as classic and stunning a performance of this song as one is likely to hear. Ever. Even from Mitchell.

Fleming tackles one of my favorite songs "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and goes one better than my previous favorite recording, Linda Ronstadt's. Not an easy thing to do.

So far I am thrilled with just about every note and phrase I've heard. This is not "crossover" style music, it's "real music" and, if Fleming really sounds like this - or can sound like this - she could pick up another career quite easily. This is gorgeous, late night, candles, glass of port, sink into the sofa music.

Some of Fleming's previous excursions into the realm of pop have met with disaster (notably her over-the-top "Over The Rainbow" at last year's Kennedy Center Honors). This album has none of that affected, show offiness that made even die-hard fans of hers question her taste and musicality.

Many opera fans are going to hate her in this material, many probably won't, on principle, even give it a listen, but those who don't know Fleming as an opera singer, will easily buy that this is a real deal, a golden throated chanteuse singing this material as if to the manner born."
A lovely experience
wolfgang731 | 05/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First and foremost, put aside any preconceived ideas that you might have as to what this album is going to or should sound like. If someone didn't tell you this was an opera singer in general and the glorious Renee Fleming in particular, you would think you've stumbled upon a wholly sophisticated sonic experience, born in the jazz clubs of lower Manhattan, far from Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y or Lincoln Center. I truly loved this CD and to be honest, I wasn't sure that I would. With a bluesy and earthy vocal palette, what we ultimately come realize is what a personal statement this CD is and it's just so darn refreshing to hear Ms. Fleming pouring forth these wonderful works with such tender and obvious affection and commitment. This love letter to jazz and blues (and select classical) is as intelligent and artistic as anything Ms. Fleming's ever done. So go ahead and light a few candles, pour yourself a cocktail, sit back and enjoy the seduction."
3 Musicians, Creating Exquisite Art
Rick Cornell | Reno, Nv USA | 09/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mine is the 39th review for Ammy of this album, and I see it averages 4 stars. I haven't read the various reviews (yet), but I can well guess why. I'm sure there are those who are outraged at the "conceit" of this album. But at the risk of being booed and neggied, I love it.

As one who sings both opera and jazz on a "professional amateur" scale, let me state my insights into why this album is so special, why it is one of the best of 2005, and why it is one of the best "of its kind":

Relatively few opera singers could pull off an album with two jazz musicians brilliantly. It seems to me that coloratura sopranos, Verdi baritones and operatic tenors would have a devil of a time doing such a project, because their vibratos would be so wide as to destroy the flavor of jazz and the interplay with the other two musicians. The singer would have to be a bass-baritone, a contralto, or possibly a very accomplished lyric soprano or a mezzo who can sing an octave down and control the vibrato.

Relatively few jazz pianists could pull off an album with an opera singer brilliantly. It would take not only someone who knows how to accompany singers generally, but also someone who can flow with the ebb and tide of the drama that opera singers create but jazz singers (generally) do not--all the while being able to improvise within that structure.

And relatively few jazz guitarists could pull off an album with an opera singer brilliantly. Again, it would take someone who not only knows how to accompany singers generally, but also someone who can take an "orchestral" approach to the guitar but again, can improvise within that structu

Three of those few who can potentially pull off a project like this are Renee Fleming, Fred Hersch (p) and the inimitable Bill Frisell (g. Here, each does it brilliantly.

The first time I listened to this, I uttered a breathless "wow" at the end of so many songs that I lost count. The second time I started catching the subtleties. Consider Hersch's quote from "Jingle Bells" in Joni Mitchell's "River". Or, consider how Hersch matches Ms. Fleming's sense of the dramatic in "Midnight Sun", "In My Life" and the title track. Or consider how Frisell hits overtones in "Answer Me", and harmonizes within the overtones. Or consider how Ms. Fleming bends notes and scats like a jazz singer in "When Did You Leave Heaven" and "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress", hits a 10-note portimento like an opera singer in "You've Changed", and does a baroque ornamentation like an oratorio singer in "My One and Only Love."

What do you call this album? You can't call it jazz, really, and certainly you can't call it opera. It's really a cabaret album, but with Mahler's "Liebst du um Schonheit" and Villa-Lobos' "Cancao do Amor", also a recital album.

Among the vocal jazz and cabaret albums I review, I call it one of the best of the year, and an album that really can't be compared to much else. These are 3 musicians who create exquisite art together, with utmost sensitivity. Together, they leave an end product that should be in the c.d. changer of all music-lover's, and certainly will be in mine, for a very long time. RC

P.S.--To the person or persons who keep "neggieing" this and virtually every other review of this album: Grow Up!! I see 3 reasons to neggie a review: a) The review misrepresents the product; b) The review makes false factual claims (not opinion; fact); c) The review is a personal attack on the artist. Neither this nor the other "heavily-neggied" reviews is guilty of any of these 3. RC