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Trav'lin' Light

Trav'lin' Light

3.7 7
by Queen Latifah
Trav'lin' Light is Queen Latifah's second foray into the realm of jazz, soul, and blues, following 2004's Grammy-nominated The Dana Owens Album. The record explores the songbooks of Peggy Lee, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, Roberta Flack, and more. One of the tracks, "I Know Where I've Been," is from the 2007 soundtrack to


Trav'lin' Light is Queen Latifah's second foray into the realm of jazz, soul, and blues, following 2004's Grammy-nominated The Dana Owens Album. The record explores the songbooks of Peggy Lee, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, Roberta Flack, and more. One of the tracks, "I Know Where I've Been," is from the 2007 soundtrack to Hairspray, in which Latifah costarred with John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Trav'lin' Light, Queen Latifah's follow-up to her first collection of pop standards, The Dana Owens Album (2004), is, if anything, even better than that Grammy-nominated set. Contemporary performers often get into trouble when they take on music of the pre-rock era, but this one, who is by now so far removed from her origins that she probably should be referred to as a former rapper, not only has the vocal talent to carry it off, she also has put in the hard work with producers, arrangers, musicians, and (no doubt) a vocal coach to create a more-than-credible album. Previously, Queen Latifah made the jump from rapper to Oscar-nominated actress, and her acting classes also seem to have come in handy here. In song after song, she has come up with a character to portray through the lyrics, and that helps make her interpretations convincing. Sometimes, it is the songwriters themselves she seems to be channeling. "Poetry Man," the leadoff track, is not far removed from Phoebe Snow's original, although Queen Latifah wisely undersings where Snow elaborated. Similarly, on "I Love Being Here with You" and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," she seems more than familiar with the originals by authors Peggy Lee and Nina Simone, and her versions are affectionate annotations on them. She probably knows the '40s song "Don't Cry Baby" through its '60s revivals by Etta James and Aretha Franklin, and without competing against those greats gives it an enthusiastic treatment. And, of course, the title song dates to a Billie Holiday recording with Paul Whiteman; Queen Latifah suggests Holiday's style without aping it. She is ably assisted by some expert studio supporters including producers Tommy LiPuma and Ron Fair and arrangers Jerry Hey and John Clayton; no expense has been spared in filling several studios with dozens of musicians, including full string and horn sections and such name soloists as Stevie Wonder (featured on harmonica on "Georgia Rose") and Joe Sample (piano on "Georgia Rose," "Trav'lin' Light," and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl"). A great deal of thought has gone into the song choices (executive producer Monica Lynch is thanked specifically for her suggestions), which range from the '20s all the way up to "I Know Where I've Been" from the 2007 Hairspray soundtrack. Finally, however, it is the singer herself who deserves the credit for making the album work. As with her acting, Queen Latifah's singing is most laudable for not trying to do too much; she may evoke James or Simone or Holiday (or Smokey Robinson or the Pointer Sisters), but she never tries to outsing them; rather, her versions are glosses on the greats she and her producers so admire.

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Queen Latifah   Primary Artist
George Duke   Piano,fender rhodes
Jeff Hamilton   Drums
Greg Mathieson   Organ,Keyboards
Joe Sample   Piano
Bruce Dukov   Violin
Sid Page   Violin
Alex Al   Bass
Rick Baptist   Trumpet
Gary Bias   Alto Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
Jacqueline Brand   Violin
Lee Callet   Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Mark Cargill   Violin
Gilbert Castellanos   Trumpet
Oscar Castro-Neves   Guitar
Ronald Clark   Violin
Jeff Clayton   Alto Saxophone
John Clayton   Conductor
Luis Conte   Percussion
Larry Corbett   Cello
Jim Cox   Keyboards
Brian Dembow   Viola
Yvette Devereaux   Violin
Stephen Erdody   Cello
Keith Fiddmont   Alto Saxophone
Julie Gigante   Violin
John Goux   Guitar
Gary Grant   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Alan Grunfeld   Violin
Niki Haris   Background Vocals
Jerry Hey   Conductor
Dan Higgins   Alto Flute,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Paul Jackson   Guitar
Peter Kent   Violin
Ron King   Trumpet
Abraham Laboriel   Bass
Michael Landau   Guitar
Andy Martin   Trombone
Christian McBride   Bass
Robin Olson   Violin
Alan Pasqua   Keyboards
Joel Peskin   Alto Flute,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Katia Popov   Violin
Kevin Ricard   Percussion
Anatoly Rosinsky   Violin
Maurice Spears   Bass Trombone
Toots Thielemans   Harmonica
Cecilia Tsan   Cello
Josefina Vergara   Violin
Fred White   Background Vocals
Evan Wilson   Viola
Stevie Wonder   Harmonica
Gayle Levant   Harp
Lamont VanHook   Background Vocals
Charlie Owens   Tenor Saxophone
Jim Ross   Viola
Suzie Katayama   Cello
Anthony Wilson   Guitar
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Tuba,Bass Trombone
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Reggie C. Young   Trombone
Natalie Leggett   Violin
Valerie Pinkston   Background Vocals
Shawn Mann   Viola
Darrin McCann   Viola
Irina Voloshina   Violin
Abe Laboriel   Drums
Sarah Thornblade   Violin
George Bohanon   Trombone
Larry Hall   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Andrew Duckles   Viola
Becky Bunnell   Violin
Songa Lee   Violin
James Ford   Trumpet
Dan Tobin Smith   Cello
Alex Iles   Trombone
Victoria Miskolczy   Viola
Phillip Levy   Violin
Chris Ermacoff   Cello
Mario de León   Violin
Matthew Funes   Viola
Sarah Parkins   Violin

Technical Credits

Nina Simone   Composer
Donny Hathaway   Composer
Smokey Robinson   Composer
Gene Lees   Composer
Jimmy Mundy   Composer
Graham Gouldman   Composer
June Pointer   Composer
Eric Stewart   Composer
Leroy Hutson   Composer
Anita Pointer   Composer
Trummy Young   Composer
John Clayton   Arranger
Manny Curtis   Composer
Ron Fair   Producer
Jerry Hey   Arranger
Antonio Carlos Jobim   Composer
Walter Kent   Composer
Tommy LiPuma   Producer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Ruth Pointer   Composer
David Rubinson   Composer
Schmitt   Engineer
Marc Shaiman   Composer,Producer
Allen Sides   Engineer
Monica Lynch   Executive Producer
Hollis King   Art Direction
Steve Genewick   Engineer
Scott Wittman   Composer
Robert Rogers   Composer
Bill Schluger   Composer
Stella Unger   Composer
Tal Herzberg   Engineer
Bill Airey Smith   Engineer
Shakim Compere   Executive Producer
Sachico Asano   Graphic Design
"Angry" Mike Eleopoulos   Engineer
Patricia Pointer   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Trav'lin' Light 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must be hearing a different CD than the first reviewer. I LOVED "The Dana Owens Album", and had hoped Latifah would do another like it. These renditions of classic songs get better as you listen. I love a contemporary take on a song that has been done before. Shes got the pipes for this material, and I hope she records every old "and new" song she likes. I'll buy them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't think that the first reviewer fairly rated this cd. Queen Latifah is not trying to be like Dinah, Etta and whoever else. She sings these songs obviously because she loves this genre of music. With this cd and the Dana Owens cd, she is opening the minds of the youth who listen to her music and she is showing them that there are dozens of other types of music out there. I love this cd and I applaud Queen Latifah for doing something that she loves!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before her last CD, The Dana Owens Story, I wasn't a fan of the Queen but that CD showed me that Queen had matured in her career to expand to a more mature audience. And with this CD she has shown me that some things do improve with age. I feel as though this is a very eclectic CD ranging from jazz and big band to easy listening and the funky, Betcha Gotta Chick on the Side, and with I Know Where I've Been, which I am listening to as I am typing this she has taken my respect for her talent to a new level. I beleive that she has something here for any and everybody. As I said in my intro, "listen for yourself". peace
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful easy listening music. She does "her" thing recapping early versions. Beautiful voice and style. Buy It! You will be overwhelmed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
She's no Etta, Sarah, etc. The original versions of these artists are so much better. I think she should stay with her rapping. But, listen to the music samples listed here and decide for yourself.