All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

201

Diana Ross: Blue

By

Sign in to view read count
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

Related Articles

Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read Cycle CD/LP/Track Review
Cycle
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 17, 2018
Read Love From The Sun CD/LP/Track Review
Love From The Sun
by Chris May
Published: June 17, 2018
Read Outside My Window CD/LP/Track Review
Outside My Window
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 17, 2018
Read New Standards CD/LP/Track Review
New Standards
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 17, 2018
Read EP 1 CD/LP/Track Review
EP 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 16, 2018
Read "Happy Song" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Song
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Apocalypse Live" CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse Live
by Martin Longley
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Ellipse" CD/LP/Track Review Ellipse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Sun Embassy" CD/LP/Track Review Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "EP 1" CD/LP/Track Review EP 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 16, 2018
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by John Sharpe
Published: December 6, 2017