Etta James: Blue Gardenia
James is joined on this album by a sterling group of veteran jazz men. The constant is the rhythm section of the inimitable Cedar Walton on piano, bassist Tony Dumas, Ralph Pendland on drums and the fine work of Josh Sklair on guitar. James works with them on "Blue Gardenia", where she is joined by her mother. For most tracks, a horn section is added which includes Red Holloway, George Bohannon and Ronnie Buttacavoli. The larger group shows up on such cuts as "In My Solitude" which features one of Holloway's patented soulful tenor solos. The horn section sounds somewhat distant which raises the question of whether they were added after James cut the album with her rhythm section. While the bulk of the tunes are ballad standards, James takes the listener back to her roots with "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying".
James may have slowed a bit when it comes to technical skills. But the fervency, the soul and the passion not only are still there, but have grown keener with age. This is an album of more than an hour of from the heart singing by one of the great ones and is recommended.
Track Listing: This Bitter Earth; He's Funny That Way; In My Solitude; There Is no Greater Love; Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying; Love Letters; These Foolish Things; Come Rain or Come Shine; Don't Worry `Bout Me; Cry Me a River; Don't Blame Me; My Man; Blue Gardenia*
Personnel: Etta James, Dorothy Leatherwood* - Vocals; Josh Sklair - Guitar; Cedar Walton - Piano; Tony Dumas - Bass; Ralph Pendland - Drums; Red Holloway - Tenor Sax; George Bohannon - Trombone; Ronnie Buttacavoli - Trumpet
Record Label: Private Music