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Nnenna Freelon: Capturing the Holiday Spirit

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Freelon didn't want to mimic Lady Day; she wanted to match her

Nnenna Freelon isn't exactly channeling Lady Day on her latest album and tour, which honors the 90th anniversary of Billie Holiday's birth. But she does feel her spirit.

“She's ecstatic," said Freelon of Holiday. “She sits on my shoulder and says, 'You better be who you are.' “

It's that kind of self-confidence and strength that the acclaimed Freelon draws from Holiday to make her tour, “Blueprint of a Lady: The Once and Future Life of Billie Holiday," with the Ronald K. Brown/Evidence dance troupe, come to life.

“I feel I've gotten to know this salt-and-vinegar chick! She was highly intelligent. You can tell by the choices she makes in her songs. She was a conscious genius."

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