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 Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Of Sound Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Of Sound Mind
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "New York Connections" CD/LP/Track Review New York Connections
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 27, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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