Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Diana Ross: Blue

201

Diana Ross: Blue

By

Sign in to view read count
Diana Ross: Blue
In late 1971, after Diana Ross completed filming the Billie Holiday bio-pic Lady Sings the Blues, Motown put her in the studio to record an album of jazz standards to coincide with the movie's release. The material was shelved after the producers decided to keep Ross on the pop-star track, which soon produced the #1 hit "Touch Me in the Morning."

This summer Motown is releasing that long-lost album, entitled Blue. A welcome attempt to cash in on the recent standards successes of Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Queen Latifah and others, it's a tastefully recorded piece of jazz-lite. Produced by Gil Askey, the album burbles with orchestral swells, but never to the point of overwhelming the material. Ross' voice is sugary-sweet throughout, and she favors succinct phrasing over straining melisma—clarity of tone is her touchstone. Thankfully she makes no attempt to imitate Lady Day's delicate growl; she sticks to clear lines and rarely plays with the beat, letting the song do the work for her.

And these songs do plenty, with gems like "What A Difference A Day Makes," "But Beautiful," "Love Is Here To Stay" and "My Man." The formula is flawless, and while it never touches Holiday's emotional depths, it never descends into decorative kitsch, either. Risk-taking should be reserved for those who can pull it off—and the professionalism on display here plays it safe with style and sincerity.

"Let's Do It is a prime example. Anchored by an acoustic guitar strum, murmuring strings and a muted trumpet, Ross' voice lightly bounces as it talks of those "goldfish in the privacy of bowls falling in love. She modulates her voice within a limited range, but each tweak adds wry humor, allowing the graceful turns of phrase an ideal setting to make their impact. These renditions don't bear much of a personal stamp, but they shimmer with life regardless. That's what a beautiful voice can do for you.

Track Listing

What A Diff'rence A Day Makes; No More; Let's Do It; I Loves Ya Porgy; Smile; But Beautiful; Had You Been Around; Little Girl Blue; Can't Get Started With You; Love Is Here To Stay; You've Changed; My Man (Mon Homme); Easy Living; Solitude; He's Funny That Way; T'Aint Nobody's Bizness If I Do.

Personnel

Diana Ross: vocals; other musicians unspecified.

Album information

Title: Blue | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Motown


Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Journey to Where
Trish Clowes & Ross Stanley
Torque
Tourismo
Influences
Jared Hall

Popular

For Real!
Hampton Hawes
My Prophet
Oded Tzur
Nimble Digits
Geoff Stradling
Time Again
Koppel, Blade, Koppel

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.