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The Way We Were

Etta Jones

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Album Review

Etta Jones could flat-out sing, and she never failed to make the blues, jazz, and Great American Songbook standards she sang her own, especially in her many collaborations with tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who was as sympathetic a player as any singer could ever hope for — Jones and Person simply clicked and understood each other as a duo. This joyous set was recorded live April 15, 2000 (a little more than a year away from Jones’ death in the fall of 2001) at the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and features Jones and Person with the help of pianist Stan Hope, bassist George Kaye, and drummer Chip White. Jones sings with vitality and poise, transforming Gershwin's “Oh, Lady Be Good” from a jazz standard into a flowing blues, making old chestnuts like “What a Wonderful World” and “Don’t Go to Strangers” shine anew with a poignant wisdom. This set is both a pleasant listen and a fun archival recording — it captures Jones and Person at their best in front of a nimble and flexible rhythm section.

Biography

Born: 25 November 1928 in Aiken, SC

Genre: Jazz

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

An understated, dynamic singer within jazz and popular standards, Etta Jones was an excellent singer always worth hearing. She grew up in New York and at 16, toured with Buddy Johnson. She debuted on record with Barney Bigard's pickup band (1944) for Black & White, singing four Leonard Feather songs, three of which (including "Evil Gal Blues") were hits for Dinah Washington. She recorded other songs during 1946-1947 for RCA and worked with Earl Hines (1949-1952). Jones' version of "Don't Go to...
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The Way We Were, Etta Jones
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Contemporaries