Christy S. (soupermom) from LINCOLN, NE Reviewed on 12/27/2009...
Love, love, love this CD. I wish she would make another like it. You have not heard the Queen until you have this CD.
Jennifer L. (loyallioness) from JACKSONVILLE, FL Reviewed on 2/20/2009...
track #4 is a great west coast swing and tract #7 a beautiful rumba
Bonnie C. (frugalmama) from LAKEVILLE, MA Reviewed on 4/14/2007...
One of my favorite CD's. Can listen to this anytime... great for background music or crank it and dance to the beat!
Nandi C. (Thesavvyabamalady) from PRICHARD, AL Reviewed on 8/7/2006...
I love this CD! with it's standard music; enjoyable listening pleasure.
Dana Owens shines....but she's still holding back.
S. Sittig | Washington, D.C. | 09/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We all know her as Queen Latifah, but despite forging an amazing career as a Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and an acclaimed TV and Film actress (even garnering an Oscar nom for her spirited work in the film version of CHICAGO), it seems Latifah (aka Dana Owens, her birth name, which she uses on this album) has been hiding another one of her many talents--a rich velvety, nuanced voice perfect for singing jazz standards and various eclectic gems from the Great American Songbook.
To be honest she had shown us a glimpse of this talent-for those of us who were paying attention-when she crooned a stunning version of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" for the soundtrack of the underrated Holly Hunter vehicle LIVING OUT LOUD. Not surprisingly, Owens also did a remarkable job of co-starring in that film, supporting Hunter with an expertise not shown by most artists of her generation.
Is there anything Owens can't do?
Well, before getting too carried away with exultant praise for this wonderful lady, let me just say that she isn't 100% successful on this, her first full out jazz/r&b/soul album.
Owens is definitely a gifted song interpreter (no doubt her acting experience comes in handy on this set), and she uses it to great effect on remakes of such classics as "Baby Get Lost", "California Dreamin'", "Hello Stranger", "Close Your Eyes" and the aformentioned "Lush Life" (which is still the strongest song of this new set). But she also shows her r&b/soul roots on mellow, "quiet storm" styled tracks like the sensual "Simply Beautiful", the raucous "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh".
There's nothing inherently wrong with Owens' delivery. While not gifted with the largest range in the biz, she definitely knows how to play with the highs (a soft higher range that is pleasing to the ear) and she definitely excels at the guttural lows we know her for so well.
The problem is that sometimes the production works against her. It's hard to put my finger exactly on what about the production doesn't click, but there is almost too much of a smooth sheen on the material, to much of an MOR patina, that isn't natural to Owens' nature. We want her to sing dirtier...to be more Pearl Bailey and less Nancy Wilson, more Eartha Kitt and less Dinah Washington and yet the production keeps reigning her in, when you sense she really wants to break loose and be wild.
There's a strength behind Owens' voice, an almost masculine intensity, that paired with her feminine sweetness could have made for quite an emotional range with the proper production and perhaps a more risky song selection, but instead her tougher side is harnessed and sometimes you want it to run free...like she did so successfully with "When You're Good To Mama" in the film version of CHICAGO. What Owens does best is play in that space between raunchy and classy, and this CD tries too desperately to push her into the "classy" arena of supper clubs and mellow singers chirping over the chink of champagne glasses. In the process, the production somewhat muzzles the bite that the Queen could otherwise have.
Definitely a strong effort, but I look forward to a more edgy set for her 2nd outing in this arena. But you've got to give the Lady credit for trying something new. While most artists of her generation are content doing the same thing over and over, it's nice to see the Queen take a well calculated risk."
Oh, Dana! Graceful, upbeat and strong--WOW!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 10/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The moment I finished listening to this CD, my knee-jerk reaction was simple: MORE! Queen Latifah proves she is as comfortable performing classic songs as she is doing rap. Her fans knew her talents as a rap artist; it is no surprise that she can pull this switch into more classic tunes without a hitch. (After all, she sang wonderfully in the movie Chicago without a rap format.)
Her voice is strong, sensuous, and just plain wonderful to listen to. Al Green also joins her in singing "Simply Beautiful," a song Green himself wrote.
The selected songs combine to form a very strong, unified set that is ecstasy to listen to the way you want to, maybe just relaxing or perhaps with a glass of fine wine. The quality of the music is excellent and the cover photo of Dana is beautiful. You don't get lyrics to the songs but the credits are there.
In short, BUY THIS CD! You won't be sorry! GRIN "
wolfgang731 | 10/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love Queen Latifah (Dana Owens) and embrace all the things that she has come to represent, most of all, her obvious love for music beyond the realm of hip hop. However, that said, The Dana Owens album is something of an unremarkable experience. Does she have the chops? Definitely! It's not a question of talent (or lack thereof) and the arrangements and production values are of the highest caliber and Latifah's love and admiration for these songs are evident from the get go. Everyone involved seemingly gave it all they had, but, ultimately, it feels too deliberate and, at times, forced. There is no real sense of spontaneity and discovery. The voice is supple, the musicians first rate, the sound quality excellent and like I stated before, the production is flawless, but it's more a luke warm experience than a revelatory one. The sole exception is a wonderfully velvety smooth and uncontrived rendition of "Hard Times." Here Ms. Owens hits her stride with a flexible vocal technique and natural delivery. Irrespective of everything, though, I continue to love the "Queen" and shall support her in all her efforts, even if I am not always necessarily thrilled with the end results."
Dana's Put A Spell On Me
R. Aiello | Chicago, IL | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Queen Latifah. Dana Owens. Whatever you want to call her, the woman is a gift. She is elegance, she is grace, she is class. And now with "The Dana Owens Album" she has proved it once again, this time to the music world. The Queen has entered the building, and she ain't never gonna be leavin'. Ya hear?
Her sass is still there, on the upbeat tracks such as "Baby Get Lost" and "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" and "Mercy Mercy Mercy." She won't let you forget that she IS still the Queen. Don't be fooled.
But we also get the exquisite treat of her more sensitive and mature side, on "Close Your Eyes", "I Put A Spell on You," "California Dreamin'" and of course the absolutely perfect "Lush Life," from "Living Out Loud," which was the first time I realized that this lady, while already immensely talented, was much more multi-talented than anyone initially thought. How wonderful that her career has blossomed so well since this initial outing.
There are not enough superlatives and not enough exclamations in the dictionary to represent how I feel after listening to this album over and over again. I will never tire of it, and I will never tire of her magical voice. I can't wait to see what she does next. If Queen Dana Latifah Owens has reinvented herself before--and she has--she just might do it again, and I will be anxiously awaiting the next move. Will she rap again? Possibly, but as a non-rap fan, I am hoping that she continues along this path and continues to grace us with that velvety smooth voice for years to come."
M. Gale | Chicago, IL | 10/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some reviewers don't get it (see the reference to Jill Scott). This isn't about past albums where Queen Latifah represented her attitude. It's an album for those who have outgrown (or bypassed) the mindless "stuff" played on MTV. Her selections are beautiful, her voice is stellar ... the album exudes class. To me, it seems to have a bit more kick than Diana Krall."