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Live

Live

Nnenna Freelon refuses to be pigeonholed into any one style of jazz, as she's always willing to perform songs from many different fields, often while taking them in unfamiliar directions. She's also blessed with a great voice and an innate ability to charm her audience, along with a superb band. These performances from a pair of concerts at the Kennedy Center have a lot to like within them. The two-faceted interpretation of the standard "All or Nothing at All" alternates between an exotic Latin setting and driving bop. Pianist Takana Miyamoto's bossa nova scoring of "Meaning of the Blues" and the humorous take of "If I Only Had a Brain" also work very well. But there are misfires, too. Johnny Green's timeless melody to "Body and Soul" is discarded in favor of a plodding, monotonous reggae arrangement. There's little to differentiate the poppish performance of "My Cherie Amour" from a typical pop performance. Far better is her slowed-down approach to another Stevie Wonder song, "Tears of a Clown," where Smokey Robinson's great lyrics can be better appreciated than even on his own hit rendition with the Temptations. For those who have yet to experience the phenomenal Nnenna Freelon in concert, this is the next best alternative. ~ Ken Dryden

Tracks

01Nothing Will Be As It Was
02All Or Nothing At All
03If I Only Had A Brain (Intro)
04If I Only Had A Brain
05Meaning Of The Blues
06Body & Soul
07My Cherie Amour (Intro)
08My Cherie Amour
09Tears Of A Clown
10Button Up Your Overcoat
11If I Had You
12Circle Song
The Clothesline Muse