Hummin' to Myself

Hummin' to Myself

4.3 3
by Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt is no stranger to the Great American Songbook. Her bestselling collaborations with arranger Nelson Riddle in the 1980s --What’s New, Lush Life and For Sentimental Reasons -- found the beloved singer digging into jewels from the golden era of…  See more details below


Linda Ronstadt is no stranger to the Great American Songbook. Her bestselling collaborations with arranger Nelson Riddle in the 1980s --What’s New, Lush Life and For Sentimental Reasons -- found the beloved singer digging into jewels from the golden era of popular song. With Hummin’ to Myself, Ronstadt returns to the standards but scales down some. Here she utilizes small-group arrangements rather than the lush orchestral scores of the Riddle albums. The results put more focus on Ronstadt’s still-sumptuous vocals. Although she gets exceptional support from a stellar instrumental crew including such acclaimed jazz musicians as bassist Christian McBride, pianist Alan Broadbent, saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman, and flugelhorn player Roy Hargrove, Ronstadt claims the listener’s attention with her crystalline tones and unforced, swinging phrasing. She does herself proud on familiar material such as “Cry Me a River,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “I’ll Be Seeing You” and more unusual choices like “Never Will I Marry,” “Blue Prelude,” and the title tune. Aging rock stars have been jumping on the standards bandwagon with greater frequency these days, for better or worse. Ronstadt, a pioneer at crossing genres, reinvents herself yet again and triumphs.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Aaron Latham
Beginning with her 1983 album What's New, Linda Ronstadt broke away from the pop
ock world and collaborated with Nelson Riddle on a trilogy of traditional pop standards that were confidently performed and well-received. Riddle's satiny arrangements swirled around Ronstadt's rich voice as she played the kind of demure chanteuse who might have been headlining at a fashionable nightclub back in the day. The albums were lush and beautifully crafted but by the third album the formula had become tired and the novelty had worn thin. Twenty years later another fading rocker, Rod Stewart, recorded his own highly successful standards trilogy and perhaps it was his success that spurred Ronstadt to revisit the traditional pop catalog once again. Hummin' to Myself is basically a throwback to her albums that were throwbacks when first recorded. This time around Ronstadt and arranger Alan Broadbent dispense with the full orchestra in favor of a smaller big band-style combo and this setting actually works in her favor. As a rock vocalist, Ronstadt could growl with the best and there was a certain spark in songs like "Get Closer" that let a listener know that this pretty woman had a slightly naughty side. That spark was appropriately missing from the Riddle albums and with Hummin' she has a chance to incorporate a little of her rock bawdiness into her selection of standards. She does this to perfection on "Never Will I Marry," as Frank Loesser's jazzy tune showcases a performance that is sassy and one of Ronstadt's best covers. To a lesser extent, the title track and "Get Out of Town" have some zest to them, but even with the lighter arrangements, her reliance on ballads like "Cry Me a River" and "I'll Be Seeing You" take up the majority of space and bog down the disc. Even her down-tempo version of "Miss Otis Regrets" completely stifles the song's comedic, yet tragic, story line. Ronstadt was on to something when she dispensed with Riddle's orchestrations in favor of Broadbent's big-band arrangements, but the spunk shown in a few tunes isn't enough to fully carry the disc. However, with its different approach Hummin' to Myself is quite possibly Linda Ronstadt's most successful standards outing.

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Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Linda Ronstadt   Primary Artist,Vocals
Warren Bernhardt   Piano
Alan Broadbent   Piano
Peter Erskine   Drums
Roy Hargrove   Flugelhorn,Soloist
Bob Sheppard   Tenor Saxophone
Lewis Nash   Drums
Daniel Block   Clarinet
John Catchings   Cello
Mike Haynes   Flugelhorn
Trey Henry   Bass
Jim Horn   Tenor Saxophone
Jon-Erik Kellso   Trumpet
Larry Koonse   Guitar
Bob Mann   Guitar
Christian McBride   Bass
David "Fathead" Newman   Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Roberta Cooper   Cello
Steven Bernstein   Trumpet
Eugene Drucker   Violin

Technical Credits

Linda Ronstadt   Arranger
Alan Broadbent   Arranger
Gordon Jenkins   Composer
Frank Loesser   Composer
John Boylan   Producer,Audio Production
Sammy Cahn   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Sammy Fain   Composer
Arthur Hamilton   Composer
Irving Kahal   Composer
John Latouche   Composer
Herbert Magidson   Composer
George Massenburg   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Cole Porter   Composer
Schmitt   Engineer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Jule Styne   Composer
Joe Bishop   Composer
Isabelle Wong   Graphic Design
Hollis King   Art Direction
Monty Siegel   Composer
Jack J. Canning   Composer
Bill Hegner   Composer

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Hummin' to Myself 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is our best female pop singer bar none.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She has a lovely voice, but she brings her R&R tendency not to pronounce the whole word to her singing of the old standards. The truly great interpreters do pronounce the terminal "g". Indeed, they pronounce the whole word correctly in standard English. That's why Linda and Rod (who also needs a voice) will never be great interpreters of the Great American Songbook. But they will be laughing all the way....
Guest More than 1 year ago
No disrespect intended to the previous reviewer, but why is it that so many people (I guess they're the purists) think the Great American Standard must be sung as if the singer is teaching an English grammar class? That being asked, I went and listened again to this CD before I wrote this and I challenge the previous reviewer to cite specific examples of when Linda failed to pronounce necessary consonants during her performance on this CD. As a matter of fact, the first thing that struck me on first hearing this work was that she has obviously learned a lot about phrasing since her previous work with Nelson Riddle. This CD is fabulous. Linda is an artist. I am sure she did not set out to mimic Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald or any of the other greats. What she does here is put her own unique stamp on these songs. Her voice is marvelous; whether she is singing softly or belting. If you want to get a sample of how her phrasing has matured, listen to Miss Otis Regrets. I believe it is the standout track on this CD and one which could become the definitive version. However, what I like most about this work is that each track is sung with unique vocal skill. Although the voice is the same, the inflection and coloration is very different. The opening number, Tell Him I Said Hello, is sung in a very even manner with little vocal modulation; the emphasis here being her voice. Miss Otis Regrets is all about telling a story, so there is more attention given to diction and pronounciation. Blue Prelude is a true upbeat jazz song so the she gets very sassy. When she tackles I'll Be Seeing You, she employs her legendary vocal heartbreak, reminicent of her 1974 rendition of Heart Like A Wheel. If you don't get a lump in your throat listening to this track, I'd be surprised. The musicians accompanying Linda are top notch from start to finish and the entire CD is obviosly a labour of love. Bravo Linda. This is one great musical achievement.