Before Me by Gladys Knight
Released: Oct 2006
Label:
Every aging pop star is singing standards these days, but Gladys Knight is one of the few who actually does right by them. This may be a tribute to the four greatest female jazz vocalists of all time (Billie, Ella, Sarah and Dinah), but Knight doesn't try and copy their styles. Instead she uses her big R&B voice and tempers it with a smoother soul style. Her voice also works with -- rather than against -- the sophisticated backings (it has to mean something that this was the music that Knight grew up with). Focused jazz solos from the likes of "Fathead" Newman, Joe Sample, Russell Malone, Roy Hargrove and Chris Botti add additional fire to the set.
Nick Dedina
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