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Soul Express CD of the Month - August 2010

Lynne Fiddmont: Lady

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US MidLife Records CD, 2010
1) All the Way 2) Fine and Mellow / He's So Fine 3) I Cover the Waterfront 4) Good Morning Heartache 5) God Bless the Child 6) Lady 7) Night and Day / I Think of You 8) Lover Man 9) What a Little Moonlight Can Do 10) Do Nothing 'Til You Hear Me / Wayman's Groove

Lady is a tribute album to Billie Holiday, and although an albumful of Bllie Holiday covers may not sound like a fresh and innovative idea, the end result is highly enjoyable. Lynne Fiddmont started her recording career in the early 1990s as a female singer on Linsey, together with her then-husband, keyboardist Wayne Linsey. Lynne's debut solo set Flow was our album of the month in 2006. Like our reviewer Barry Towler, I also liked Flow a lot, especially when the backgrounds on the album were provided by celebrated soul/jazz musicians like Abe Laboriel, Ready Freddie Washington, Munyungo Jackson, Ricky Lawson, Luis Conté and Nathan Watts. The overall feel was quite sophisticated, but very elegant and tasteful.

The last track on Lynne's debut set was a Billie Holiday cover No Regrets, and this time Lynne has decided to record a whole album of Billie Holiday covers. Certainly one of the main reasons is that she has earlier played Billie Holiday in a Los Angeles musical, “Dark Legends in Blood”, and comments that "this CD is not an attempt to copy Billie Holiday. It is however an attempt to introduce a new Day and bridge the gap between the past and the future and usher Miss Billie Holiday into the 21st century."

Although No Regrets on her previous album was the only jazz song on the album, this new album is really not a jazz set, but rather a soul album with jazz and bossa nova flavour. Again, Lynne has managed to collect a real all-stars team of musicians, including Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum on sax, Victor Bailey and Christian McBride on bass, George Duke on piano and Munyoungo Jackson on percussion. These maestros really create gorgeous musical setting for Lynne to interpret her stylish readings. The versions are far from typical arrangements, instead many of the original jazz ballads have been turned into a swinging bossa nova versions etc.

I especially enjoyed the groovy Latin-tinged version of God Bless the Child and the mellow sax-drenched and more soul-oriented readings, such as All the Way and Do Nothing 'Til Your Hear from Me. The slowly creeping version of Lover Man is also more than successful, featuring Billy Childs piano playing over the acoustic bass (Christian McBride) & drums/percussion rhythm.

As a whole, en excellent album with not a single dull moment. Highly recommended set at least to those of our readers who like both soul, jazz and Latin music.

- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

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