VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
17 NOV 10 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Stellar vocalist Nnenna Freelon hit the new Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA, earlier this month as part of a national tour. Featuring selections from her latest Concord Jazz release, Homefree, she wowed the audience with her unique take on jazz standards and the American Songbook.
Unique arranging is the key to keeping life in old chestnuts and Freelon's fresh approach to classics like Cole Porter's "Get Out Of Town" and Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" kept them contemporary. The set was sprinkled with surprises as well, most notably a humorous and swinging "If I Only Had A Brain" from The Wizard Of Oz.
She drew her listeners in with warm and personal commentary between songs. Along with her deep, expressive voice, Freelon uses her body as another musical instrument. Wearing a long gold and black skirt, swinging her arms and flipping her hands like a Martha Graham dancer, she looked like a voguing Cleopatra. A gifted comedienne as well as a talented singer, she kept the pace of her show snappy. Trading fours, a musical call and response, with the crowd was certainly a highlight for her fans, who can now brag that they sang with the wonderful Nnenna Freelon.
Get Out of Town
Nnenna Freelon, from Homefree