Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Lady SIngs Lady (Music Thoughts: Rebecca Ferguson, Lady Sings The Blues)

Color me impressed. When I first heard this album, I had no idea who Rebecca Ferguson was. Apparently, she was a contestant in the UK run of X-Factor from 2010, and had some semi-success as an R & N singer/songwriter. And apparently, she released an album of songs as a tribute to Billie Holiday. Interesting, as this year is Holiday's 100th birthday year, and there have been a bunch of people paying tribute, and I wonder if she knew. In this album "Lady Sings The Blues," we get a great singer interpreting wonderful songs. I get a sense that she did not just randomly sing these songs. I sense a singer who understands the material. At the same time, there is no mimicking, or copying Holiday, She puts her own stamp in her interpretations that at once the songs sound modern. The style veers more pop than jazz, but with jazz stylings. I love the arrangements - they pay tribute to the original orchestrations but infused with very modern elements. Listen to her version of "Stormy Weather," it's a mixture of Chaka Khan and Beyonce but neither referencing either. This album is a pleasant and wonderful surprise.

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