's Pop Art 4 disc, 69 Annee Erotique, Afro Blue is a solid look at a master's craft of writing lyrics for jazz pieces.
Felton treads more familiar territory on Come Sunday: The Music of Duke Ellington, undertaking the project with an embarrassment of supporting artist riches that features Felton in several different format contexts, from bass/voice duet to little big band. In all formats, Felton swings effortlessly, and she comes out swinging on the opening "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing," singing wide-open with no governor. She is joined by pianist Patrice Rushen
composition made for rhythm sections. Watts stretches, sharing space with master percussionist Munyoungo Jackson.
Felton is most compelling in the small space of a duo. "In A Mellow Tone" is driven by Ryan Cross' informed bass, the two extending the reductionist language investigated by Lawrence Lebo and Denny Croy on Don't Call Her Larry, Volume 3: American Roots (On the Air, 2004), into the same sexy stratospheric realm that Ellington always went. Felton and Chestnut share a moment on a most lush "Lush Life," illustrating the artistic soul that was and is Billy Strayhorn
Track Listing: It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing; Caravan; In A
Mood; In A Mellow Tone; Lush Life; Perdido; Come Sunday; Take The A
Train; I Got It Bad; Sophisticated Lady; I'm Beginning To See The Light;
Duke's Place (C Jam Blues); Prelude To A Kiss.
Personnel: Cynthia Felton: vocals; Patrice Rushen: piano (1, 8, 12, 13); Cyrus
Chestnut: piano ( 2, 5, 7); Donald Brown: piano (3, 6, 9, 10); John
Beasley: piano (11); Tony Dumas: bass (1, 8, 12, 13); Robert Hurst:
bass (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10); Ryan Cross: bass (4); John B. Williams: bass
(11); Terry Lynn Carrington; drums (1, 8, 12, 13); Jeff Tain Watts:
drums (2, 7); Yoron Israel: drums (3, 6, 9, 10); Lorca Hart: drums
(11); Ronald Muldrow: guitar (3, 6, 11); Wallace Roney: trumpet (2, 8,
9); Nolan Saheed: trumpet (12); Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone (2, 11);
Jeff Clayton: alto saxophone (6, 9, 12); Munyoungo Jackson: percussion
(2, 3, 8); Carol Robbins: harp (13).