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A Song for You

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Album Review

It is hard to believe that Ernestine Anderson was within a few months of her eightieth birthday at the time of this 2008 session, but she shows the wisdom of a veteran vocalist in her interpretations of this collection of standards, ballads, and pop songs, often proving that less is indeed more. Well complemented by tenor saxophonist Houston Person (who was an important presence on so many of the late vocalist Etta Jones' albums), pianist LaFayette Harris, bassist Chip Jackson, and drummer Willie Jones, Anderson sings with a confidence that makes each song sound like a first take. She masters the catchy midtempo setting of "Make Someone Happy," a piece often played painfully slow in order to get a sense of drama, but her upbeat treatment is a fine alternative. She knows how to sing a ballad, demonstrated in her richly textured and soulful rendition of the timeless "Skylark." She is equally at home with pop material like Leon Russell's "A Song for You" and her superb, very deliberate take of "Candy," with soulful fills inserted by Person. This is a potent effort by a singer who remains very much in her prime.

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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A Song for You, Ernestine Anderson
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