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Lena Horne: Seasons of a Life

Jim Santella By

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Over seventy for these performances and still swinging, Lena Horne sounds great. She's emotional and somewhat sentimental, but her performances always leave you with the feeling that you've just shared some quality time with an old friend.

Previously unissued, but recorded in 1994-2000 sessions that resulted in Classic Ellington, An Evening With Lena Horne, We'll Be Together Again, the Lulu on the Bridge soundtrack, and Being Myself, this Blue Note compilation carries vintage Lena Horne to its fullest. Seasons of a Life even ends up with "Stormy Weather."

"Chelsea Bridge" finds the singer in the company of Herbie Hancock, Benjamin Brown, and Akira Tana in a somber affair that reaches out for a positive glow. As Horne swoops the familiar melody up and down, she assures us that we've no cause for alarm. She interprets Billy Strayhorn's lyrics sweetly with a gentle reminder that the good times aren't gone and forgotten. If we're patient, those good times will return, filled with springtime gaiety and a radiance that turns blue feelings into sunshine.

Hancock returns on "Willow Weep for Me" with a duet that hangs down its head in misery. Like the tree, we're made to feel the pain that comes with living through seasons. Our leaves may fall and our branches may droop, but we're rejuvenated often enough to get by—with a little help from our friends.


Track Listing: Black Is; Maybe; I've Got to Have You; I'll Always Leave the Door a Little Open; You're the One; Something to Live For; Chelsea Bridge; Singin' in the Rain; Willow Weep for Me; Stormy Weather.

Personnel: Lena Horne- vocals; Rodney Jones- guitars; Mike Renzi- piano, keyboards; Oliver Von Essen- organ; Benjamin Brown- bass; Akira Tana- drums; Donald Harrison- alto saxophone; Herbie Hancock- piano on "Chelsea Bridge" and "Willow Weep for Me;" Bobby Forrester- organ on "Singin' in the Rain;" Mark Sherman- vibraphone on "Singin' in the Rain;" Lewis Nash- drums on "Singin' in the Rain;" Frank Owens- piano on "Stormy Weather."

Title: Seasons of a Life | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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