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Ledisi: Feeling Orange but Sometimes Blue

Reviewed by Ismo Tenkanen

Orange has already received enormous critical success - "the best vocal jazz album in years" etc.- so you had better make sure that you won't miss this album!

I'm truly happy she had the guts to take this step - doing a straight jazz set and showing that she really can sing jazz standards and straight jazz. However, all the tracks still have that special Ledisi touch all over them - they have been remade in a way that only Ledisi can.

Rating: 10/ 10


The Soul Express Album of the Month

April 2002

Buy this Ledisi CD from our CD shop

FEELING ORANGE BUT SOMETIMES BLUE
JAZZ SINGER (LIMITED EDITION)
US LeSun Music, 2002
1) So Right 2) I've Got It 3) Sugar / Brown Sugar 4) Meeting Marcus on a Thursday 5) Round Midnight 6) Straight No Chaser 7) Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue 8) In a Sentimental Mood 9) If You Go 10) Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes) 11) Land of the Free

When Ledisi's debut set Soulsinger was released, I was amused to notice that some critics stated that she's "rather a jazz singer than a soul singer". Well, there certainly was a distinct jazz flavour in Ledisi's phrasing, no doubt about it, but for me Soulsinger was just about the perfect soul album with a suitable amount of jazz added in the setting.

Now that Ledisi releases her eagerly awaited second set, entitled feeling Orange but Sometimes Blue (US LeSun 0101, 2001) - with the subtitle Jazz Singer (Limited Edition) - I can readily state that THIS really is a jazz album, and those who don't like straight jazz, can instantly pass the set - yes, it's that jazzy!

Still, I certainly have nothing against the new CD - on the contrary. I'm truly happy she had the guts to take this step - doing a straight jazz set and showing that she really can sing jazz standards and straight jazz. However, all the tracks still have that special Ledisi touch all over them - they have been remade in a way that only Ledisi can.

Of the old jazz standards, my favourite is Round Midnight, on which Ledisi interprets the Thelonious Monk classic over a delicious backdrop featuring Nelson Braxton on electric six string bass, Brian Coller on drums and Sundra Manning on Fender Rhodes. Other jazz standards featured are Straight No Chaser, In A Sentimental Mood and Autumn Leaves - excellent choices to cover, indeed.

As good as these interpretations are, I still prefer the original tunes written by Ledisi herself together with Sundra "Sun" Manning. Still on the straightforward jazz side, Meeting Marcus on a Thursday is an instant classic, much like Hotel around Midnight from her glorious debut set, but in a more authentic jazz setting with Ron Belcher on upright bass and Khalil Shaheed on trumpet - absolutely wonderful stuff!

Another monster of a track is the title tune Feeling Orange, But Sometimes Blue, which is unadulterated Latin Jazz featuring Pete Escovedo on timbales and Karl Peraza on congas and bongos, and Ledisi sounds perfectly at home on this percussive Latin groove. If you wish to hear more tracks in this vein, please do check out the latest effort by Poncho Sanchez - on which Ledisi scats over a fabulous salsa groove on a track called Going Back to New Orleans (album: Poncho Sanchez: Latin Spirits)!

Also worth a special mention are the creamy self-written soul-jazz ballad tune Land of the Free, as well as the opening track So Right, which has a modern Erykah Badu-ish feel and some truly breathtaking vocalising by Ledisi. The vibrant jazz-soul track we already enthused over in our Quality Time Top 50 countdown, I've Got It, is also included, as well as the inspiring, extremely dynamically delivered combination of D'Angelo's Brown Sugar and Stanley Turrentine's Sugar.

Orange has already received enormous critical success - "the best vocal jazz album in years" etc.- so you had better make sure that you won't miss this album simply because this is more of a jazz than a soul album - it will be a true classic anyway. And you may rest assured that Ledisi will be recording more R&B oriented albums in the future as well - read her exclusive interview in our next issue!



The album of the Month in March 2002: The O'Jays
The album of the Month in February 2002: Jill Scott
The album of the Month in January 2001: N'Dambi

The album of the Month in December 2001: Ali Ollie Woodson
The album of the Month in November 2001: Main Ingredient
The album of the Month in October 2001: Ty Stephens
The Album of the Month in August 2001: Michael Bohannon
The Album of the Month in June-July 2001: Miki Howard
The Album of the Month in May 2001: Cynthia Biggs
The Album of the Month in April 2001: Gladys Knight
The Album of the Month in March 2001: Nathan Heathman
The Album of the Month in February 2001: Ian
The Album of the Month in January 2001: Karen Bernod

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Albums of the Month in 1997

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