Blueprint of a Lady – Sketches of Billie Holiday in stores August 23 “No two people on earth are alike, and it’s got to be that way with music, or it’s not music.” — Billie Holiday Traditional tribute albums normally feature one artist paying tribute to another in an attempt to evoke their legendary forebear. But when Nnenna Freelon set her vocal sights on songs associated with Billie Holiday, she determined that she wanted to emulate the spirit, rather than the sound, of the great “Lady Day.” Freelon’s sixth Concord Jazz release (August 23), Blueprint of a Lady – Sketches of Billie Holiday, coincides with the 90th anniversary of Holiday’s birth, yet the five-time GRAMMY® nominee presents a moving and uniquely contemporary homage - a distinctively refreshing take on the legendary jazz singer’s firmly established contributions to music.
Blueprint of a Lady – Sketches of Billie Holiday is lovingly comprised of 15 tracks, featuring boldly fresh interpretations of tunes strongly associated with Billie Holiday. Listen to “God Bless The Child,” “Don’t Explain,” “Them There Eyes,” “Strange Fruit” (sung in a medley with a Latin-inflected “Willow Weep For Me”), or the reggae-infused version of “All of Me,” and you reach the inescapable conclusion that deep admiration, not imitation, is Freelon’s inspired intention. On Blueprint of a Lady – Sketches of Billie Holiday, Nnenna captures Holiday’s feisty spirit and independence with her selection and interpretation of signature tunes. “Billie Holiday really sang what she had to say in her own way,” says Freelon. “That’s one of the things that was so impressive about her; she was a survivor, and had an absolutely brilliant, innovative concept of her own.” Nnenna Freelon embarked on her musical career after following a successful career as a health care administrator. As the mother of three and a vocal proponent of child advocacy, however, she still continues to involve herself with various educational outreach programs that support the well-being of children in areas of self-esteem, self-expression, and constructive growth. Freelon was the spokesperson for “Partners in Education,” the national organization devoted to providing opportunities for leadership, growth and success for all students. She even wrote the foundation’s theme song, “One Child At A Time,” which appears on her Soulcall album.
From her activism in healthcare, Freelon started “Babysong,” a program in which she encourages mothers and fathers to sing or hum to their unborn or newborn children to help stimulate development and to create deeper bonds through sound communication. The vocalist has long been an advocate for AIDS prevention and will, for the third time, perform at the National Minority AIDS Conference in Houston on October 1, 2005.
Freelon and her band will tour extensively to support Concord Records’ release of Blueprint of a Lady – Sketches of Billie Holiday, including dates in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and Philadelphia.
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