Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

206

Francine Reed: Shades of Blue

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
When Francine Reed isn't singing backup with Lyle Lovett's Large Band, you might find her exercising her deep, soulful voice at two different venues in her adopted hometown of Atlanta. Some nights she belts out blues and R&B at Blind Willie's, a smoky blues joint in Virginia Highlands. Or, when the mood strikes, Reed performs swanky jazz with the house trio at the Ritz Carlton-Atlanta.

On Shades of Blue, Reed shows both sides of her musical personality. Five of the CD's 10 tracks are lush, jazzy tunes featuring Francine and her Ritz Carlton cronies (the Jerry Lambert Trio) along with a plethora of Atlanta-based musicians, including a string section from the city's symphony orchestra. The end product is somewhat similar to Linda Ronstadt's collaborations with Nelson Riddle. The remaining five tracks are blues and R&B numbers closer in style to Reed's first two solo releases on Ichiban, except stronger.

Jazz is familiar territory to Francine. When Lovett discovered Reed in 1985, she was fronting a jazz combo in a Phoenix, Ariz. Reed is a terrific singer in any format, but four of the jazz-oriented cuts on this CD are somewhat overproduced.

For instance, the song "When Love Was New" contains splashy ocean and rainstorm effects. It's a beautiful song that doesn't need the extra embellishment. Strings overwhelm Reed's dusky voice on an otherwise pretty ballad entitled "Beyond My Wildest Dreams." More successful is the swinging standard "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues," a duet featuring Francine and her sister Margo, a spunky singer in her own right.

Blues fans will prefer the last five tunes, three of which are enhanced by the great Muscle Shoals Horns. Songwriter Brenda Burns penned two songs that fit Francine like a glove: the deep-soul number "I Have A Right To Know" and the slow, bluesy "A Touch of Love." Also great is "I'm A Handful," an acoustic blues tune in which Francine shows off her patented attitude.

Despite the slick production on the jazzy tracks, Reed's considerable talent is much in evidence here. Shades of Blue is aptly titled, and it's Reed's best solo release to date.


Title: Shades of Blue | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Intersound

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Sparse" CD/LP/Track Review Sparse
by Don Phipps
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "The Organ Grinder" CD/LP/Track Review The Organ Grinder
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Danza Imposible" CD/LP/Track Review Danza Imposible
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017