Blue Gardenia

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
On both Mystery Lady and Time After Time, blues and R&B belter Etta James demonstrated that she can also take a sophisticated turn on ballads and standards. With first-call pianist Cedar Walton at the helm, James has created a late-night niche, and on Blue Gardenia the two polish the old nuggets ?He?s Funny That Way? and ?These Foolish Things? to a smoldering glow. With drummer Ralph Penland, veteran tenor saxophonist Red Holloway, and James?s guitarist, Josh Sklar, the core band has a classic appeal, and the vocalist is particularly classy on two sad ballads often associated with Dinah Washington, ?This Bitter Earth? and ?Cry Me a River.? For the title cut, James?s...
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2001-08-21 Audio CD New YOU are BUYING a NEW and SEALED CD. All CD orders sent via FIRST CLASS MAIL Service arriving in 3 to 5 business days in the United States only, Overseas ... orders may take up to 4 weeks! Buy it NOW! ! Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
On both Mystery Lady and Time After Time, blues and R&B belter Etta James demonstrated that she can also take a sophisticated turn on ballads and standards. With first-call pianist Cedar Walton at the helm, James has created a late-night niche, and on Blue Gardenia the two polish the old nuggets “He’s Funny That Way” and “These Foolish Things” to a smoldering glow. With drummer Ralph Penland, veteran tenor saxophonist Red Holloway, and James’s guitarist, Josh Sklar, the core band has a classic appeal, and the vocalist is particularly classy on two sad ballads often associated with Dinah Washington, “This Bitter Earth” and “Cry Me a River.” For the title cut, James’s mother, Dorothy Leatherwood, takes on the role of vocalist. While neither mother's nor daughter’s singing has the nuances of Billie Holiday or Washington, Blue Gardenia is a loving tribute, and it secures James’s status as a bedroom balladeer.
All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The legendary blues singer indeed lives up to the silly cliché about being able to sing the phone book and make it sound rich, meaningful, and soulful. Still, it's always exciting to hear her tackle materials she's missed before. Here she shifts gears impressively into the intimate jazz club mode, performing beautifully arranged takes on a wide variety of standards from "Come Rain or Come Shine" to "Cry Me a River" under the direction of producer John Snyder and arranger/pianist Cedar Walton. Those two gathered a handful of great jazz players and recorded the initial tracks without James, who had a touch of the flu. A few months later she had recovered and did the amazing vocal sessions which truly sound live and in synch with the music. Beginning with the redemptive theme of "This Bitter Earth," each song allows her to explore both tenderness and guttural emotions, even a little irony on clever twists like "He's Funny That Way." There are also perfectly placed spotlights for the featured musicians. "This Bitter Earth" and "He's Funny That Way" feature a thoughtful improvisation by Walton, while Duke Ellington's "In My Solitude" has a passionate interlude by tenor saxophonist Red Holloway. Most of the vocals are textured over a bed of simmering brass, adding to the old school big band flavor that creates the atmosphere for the project. It's certainly common for great artists to thank their parents for various influences, but James goes one step further on the title track, allowing her mom to sing the tune; mom is no match for her daughter, but it's still a unique touch that adds emotional dimension to an already emotionally rich affair.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/21/2001
  • Label: Rca Victor
  • UPC: 019341158028
  • Catalog Number: 11580

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Etta James Primary Artist, Vocals
Red Holloway Tenor Saxophone
Cedar Walton Piano
Josh Sklair Guitar
Rick Baptist Flugelhorn
George Bohannon Trombone
Tony Dumas Bass
Ron Powell Percussion
Ronnie Buttacavoli Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Technical Credits
Cedar Walton Arranger
Josh Sklair Arranger
Sonny Mediana Art Direction
Jay Newland Engineer
John Snyder Producer
Lupe DeLeon Executive Producer
Richard A. Whiting Composer
Harry Link Composer
Jack Strachey Composer
Neil Moret (Chas. N. Daniels) Composer
Holt Marvell Composer
Maurice Yvain Composer
Charlie Watts Engineer
John Nelson Engineer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Never Tire of Hearing this CD!

    Where to begin? Great choice of songs, superbly arranged and deliously executed by a real pro. I listen to it all of the time. No matter what my mood, one or another song speaks to it. Enjoy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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