Monday, December 19, 2011

A Tribute to Billie Holiday

Like remix albums, tribute albums are usually hit and miss and when it's someone that's HUGELY famous, you can't help but be a little skeptical about them. I have to admit that’s how I was about A Tribute To Billie Holiday because let’s face it, some artists you just don't touch. Well, skepticism aside, I'm happy to report it's not all that bad...and yes, it is hit and miss as one would suspect.

A Tribute To Billie Holiday is interesting because interspersed within this record are excerpts from Ms. Holiday's life story which gives some depth and personalization to the record and the fact that it's all narrated by Angela Bassett makes it that much better. It's almost as if Billie herself is introducing each of the songs here and giving her approval, so it’s kind of cool.

As for the songs themselves, there are 14 of them here and are predominantly sung by female artists. What's cool about this is that the artists who pay tribute to Billie here come from every which genre...heck even a few guys get involved in the act. From Deborah Cox, to Shelby Lynne, to Esperanza Spalding, and Boz's interesting to hear how Billie Holiday influenced each of these artists. Among my favorites are Shelby Lynne's out of the ballpark rendition of "You've Changed," the light jazzy feel of Esperanza's "I'll Look Around," and Frida Payne's nearly traditional take on, "Billie's Blues."

Far from disappointing, A Tribute To Billie Holiday is a fitting tribute to a fantastic artist. While none of the artists that appear on A Tribute To Billie Holiday are as good as Billie herself, they do provide and entertaining tribute to one of the greatest artists ever.

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