Nnenna Freelon - Heritage
Original Release Date: 1993
Total playing: 70:04
Bitrate: 320 kbps
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Freelon performed at the White House with flugelhorn player Clark Terry in 2006.
Nnenna Freelon, (b. July 28, 1954), is an American jazz singer, composer, producer, and arranger. She has been nominated for five Grammy Awards for her vocal work, and has performed and toured with such top artists as Ray Charles, Ellis Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Dianne Reeves, Diana Krall, Ramsey Lewis, George Benson, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, just to name a few.
One critic described her as "a spell-binding professional, who rivets attention with her glorious, cultivated voice and canny stagecraft". She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Ellington Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Apollo Theater, Montreux Jazz Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and more."
A major improvement on her debut (which found Nnenna Freelon overly influenced by Sarah Vaughan), the singer's second effort has many highpoints including outstanding versions of "'Tis Autumn," Duke Ellington's "Heritage" (a challenging and very personal song), "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Comes Love." Backed by a superior rhythm seciton and occasional horns, Freelon (even if this set bogs down a bit near the end due to too many ballads) is quite expressive, relaxed and consistently creative. This is a very impressive effort from one of the most promising jazz vocalists of the 1990s. ~ Scott Yanow, AMG
This is, for me, the most satisfying of the albums I've heard by Nnenna (apparently that overmatched "e" in her first name matches the sound in "free"). It's less adventurous but more consistent than "Shakin' Free" and less programmed but more soul-stirring than "Soul Call."
I don't pick up on the sensual, kittenish qualities other reviewers have referred to. To my ears the quality of the voice is androgynous and playful, the timbre so clear and compelling, the placement so forward and present that you can't help but trust every word. In fact, the apparent lack of sophistication makes her an especially effective reader and communicator of a sophisticated Strayhorn piece like "Something to Live For." Same with "Prelude to a Kiss," a Dukish chromatic fantasia than many performers exploit with a kind of self-referential, forced hipness. Hearing Nenna singing it so direct and sincere is a bit like rediscovering the song for the first time.
On the other hand, the absence of guile enables her to make the title song, inspired by Duke's deeply felt remembrances of his own mother, an experience that is at once personally touching and universal. Kenny Barron's accompaniment is exquisite throughout, and the two horn players are used resourcefully. The Maestro himself would no doubt have enjoyed this one. ~ Samuel Chell
I have seen Ms. Freelon's work on store shelves and in my music clubs, but I have resisted buying based on the following principle: if I like her work, then I'll have yet another artist to pursue with my obsessive-compulsive buying habits, and I just can't afford it financially. After hearing her perform "Straighten Up and Fly Right" with Take 6 at this past year's Grammy Awards I decided that I did have room after all. SOULCALL, the album from which that song was taken, is on my Christmas List (Santa had better read carefully), but I decided to buy a couple of cheap, used titles in the meanwhile. Man, does she bring a lot to the table. I am still amazed that Diana Krall is selling so many titles when an artist with so much more to offer, like Nnenna Freelon, just doesn't. . . . Her style is energetic and passionate. Her diction and vocal stylings are very unique. That's what I'm looking for---not just cookie-cutter lounge vocals. The music reflects the cover photo: alluring, sensual, subtle. . . . She sings in a way that other female artists don't--she is bringing something new to the table. No songs on this CD are "blow your mind" good, but they show an incredible amount of potential. I am eagerly awaiting hearing the entirety of SOULCALL and her other more recent CDs. In the meantime, I'll be quite happy listening to HERITAGE. ~ Roger L. Foreman
Nnena Freelon (Vocals)
Kenny Barron (Piano)
Lewis Nash (Drums)
Christian McBride (Double Bass)
Dave Tofani (Tenor Saxophone)
Jim Pugh (Trombone)
Nnenna Freelon - Heritage tracks:
01 Girl Blue (Stevie Wonder/Syreeta Wright) 5:53
02 'Tis Autumn (Henry Nemo) 4:14
03 Heritage (Duke Ellington) 4:58
04 Comes Love (Lew Brown/Sam H. Stept/Charles Tobias) 4:58
05 Prelude To A Kiss (Duke Ellington/Irving Gordon/Irving Mills) 5:03
06 It's You I Like (Fred Rogers) 3:59
07 Infant Eyes (Doug Carn/Wayne Shorter) 8:01
08 Young And Foolish (Albert Hague/Arnold B. Horwitt) 4:58
09 Never Let Me Go (Ray Evans/Jay Livingston) 4:53
10 All Or Nothing At All (Arthur Altman/Jack Lawrence) 6:14
11 So Wrong (J. Allen/Bill Anschell) 6:05
12 Something To Live For (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) 4:23
13 Bewitched (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 6:25