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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Puddy: "Eventually we paid our entrance money [to Eel Pie Island] and fought our way to one of the many bars where we could buy our Newcastle Brown and retire to the back of the heaving dancefloor. There must have been lights somewhere, but my memory remains of being in some dark cavernous wonderland." - (Just Jazz July 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

CD Review: Clairdee - A Love Letter to Lena

(Review by Lance)

Although a new name to me, Clairdee has three previous albums to her credit and, on the strength of this tribute to Lena Horne, I guess I'll be checking them out.

When we think of jazz singers, Ella, Billie, Sarah, Anita automatically come to mind. We may pause for a while before we add Lena to the list although she deservedly belongs in that exclusive group. However, she also had pop hits (Love me or Leave me, A New Fangled Tango etc.) as well a Hollywood career and, later, success as a cabaret artist and a TV personality all of which may have served to distance her from the jazz audience if not the performers.


Clairdee makes no attempt to sound like Lena - who could? However, she is a distinctive stylist in her own right and, like Lena, very much a civil rights activist. 

There are also interludes of quotes from Lena, narrated very effectively by Margo Hall, that add a sense of theatre to the album and, overall, I think it is an album that the lady herself would have given a nod of approval.

Regina Carter guests on Believe in Yourself - a track that erupts into a gospel inspired frenzy. The backing trio are solid throughout and the backing vocals add to the ambiance but the star, apart from the legacy of Lena Horne, is Clairdee. A soulful voice, rich and resonant I think I'll subtitle this review as "A (musical) Love Letter to Clairdee" 

Old Devil Moon; Home (spoken interlude); I Got a Name; Maybe; Hollywood (spoken interlude); Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child; Seminar With Drinks (spoken interlude); I Want to be Happy; Soul Mates (spoken interlude); Something to Live For; I'm Free (spoken interlude); Believe in Yourself; The Movement (spoken interlude).

Clairdee (vocal); Jon Herbst (piano/keys); Ron Belcher or Doug Miller  (bass); Deszon Claiborne or Lance Dresser (drums); John Hoy or Dave Bell (guitar); Mario Guarnieri (trumpet); Charles McNeal (tenor sax); Philip Santos (violin); Emily Onderdonk (viola); Paul Hale (cello); Ashling Cole, Bryan Dyer, Zoe Ellis (backing vocals); Tony Lindsay, Janice Maxie-Reid, Kenny Washington (guest vocalists); Regina Carter (violin); Margo Hall (narrator).

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