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.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Blue by Samuel Chell
  • Blue by R. Emmet Sweeney
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Heads & Tales Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Heads & Tales Volume 2
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "The Busker" CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.