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Nightlife

Ernestine Anderson

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Album Review

After the triumph that was 2008's A Song for You, Ernestine Anderson returns with a live collection compiled from three dates at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola and Jazz at Lincoln Center, recorded between that year and 2010. The mix is a healthy helping of jazz and swinging blues with a top-shelf band. The constants are saxophonist Houston Person, and pianist Lafayette Harris, Jr., with new drummer Jerome Jennings (Willie Jones III plays on the stellar "All Blues"), and alternating bassists Lonnie Plaxico and Chip Jackson. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this date is that Anderson, who was 80 at the time of the earliest of these recordings, is captured at her dusky, sultry, swinging best. It's there in the fingerpopping "I Love Being Here with You," the deeply emotive title track (a fine showcase for Harris), the shimmering backbeat groove in "Only Trust Your Heart," and the jaunty reading of "Falling in Love with Love"— where she meets meets Person in a call-and-response interchange that is delightful. Anderson lets her deep well of experience, phrasing, and expression compensate handsomely for what age has taken from her range. This set doesn't have the sense of controlled elegance that A Song for You did, but it isn't supposed to. It's a party record, a collection of jazz tunes done with pure blues feeling by an artist who obviously relishes engaging with her band in front of an audience.

Biography

Born: 11 November 1928 in Houston, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Positioned squarely in the mainstream camp, at home in the worlds of jazz and pop standards as well as the blues, comfortable with small groups and big bands, Ernestine Anderson has regularly received a lot of airplay on traditional jazz radio stations. She fits those demographics well with her tasteful, slightly gritty, moderately swinging contralto; she's someone who doesn't probe too deeply into emotional quagmires...
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Nightlife, Ernestine Anderson
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