Jazz

Jazz

by Etta James
     
 
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the singing of Etta James is not her versatility -- she has tackled and excelled in gospel, blues, R&B, soul, rock, jazz and pure pop -- but the way her singing stays unmistakably the same in all genres, always conveying strength, emotional honesty, and a subtly nuanced streak of defiant pride that allows her to make any song, no

Overview

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the singing of Etta James is not her versatility -- she has tackled and excelled in gospel, blues, R&B, soul, rock, jazz and pure pop -- but the way her singing stays unmistakably the same in all genres, always conveying strength, emotional honesty, and a subtly nuanced streak of defiant pride that allows her to make any song, no matter how strongly it might be associated with another artist, completely her own. This collection places her in the realm of jazz, compiling a dozen standards she recorded between 1960 and 1970 for the Argo and Chess imprints. Each of these sides features orchestral string and horn arrangements that give off the illusion of smooth mellowness, but it is only an illusion, because James brings all of her vocal guns to the table, and she is as taut as a garrote wire in her phrasing and every bit as sure of the outcome, approaching jazz with the same deep soul fervor she brings to everything she sings. Her take on Harold Arlen's "Stormy Weather" is a case in point. Lena Horne's signature version of the song is full of a languid and haunting resignation, but James tackles it with the defiance of a person used to removing all obstacles from her path and it becomes a persistent hymn to personal survival. Same song. Same lyrics. Different result. Or take James' rendition of the jazz standard "Misty." She fills it with barely restrained gospel fervor, turning its ethereal center inside out and giving the song a kind of stubborn sturdiness that is startling. Remarkably, she always sounds like herself, even when bathed in a backdrop of lush strings and calculated horns. This set doesn't prove that James is a jazz singer so much as it proves that James can sing jazz if and when she chooses to do so. No surprise there. She is, after all, Etta James. And thank God she is.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/05/2007
Label:
Verve
UPC:
0602517346864
catalogNumber:
000904302

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Etta James   Primary Artist
Riley Hampton   Conductor

Technical Credits

Erroll Garner   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Ralph Bass   Producer
Johnny Burke   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Rick Hall   Arranger,Producer
Riley Hampton   Orchestral Arrangements
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Roger "Ram" Ramirez   Composer
Leo Robin   Composer
Bob Russell   Composer
Paul Francis Webster   Composer
Floyd Hunt   Composer
Jimmy Sherman   Composer
Russ Columbo   Composer
Tom Terrell   Liner Notes
Hollis King   Art Direction
Ted Koehler   Composer
Harry Link   Composer
Jack Strachey   Composer
Henry Nemo   Composer
Clarence Gaskill   Composer
Holt Marvell   Composer
Sidney Keith Russell   Composer
Jimmy Davis   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Roger Ramirez   Composer

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