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Jennifer Holliday – The Song Is You (2014)

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Jennifer Holliday – The Song Is You (2014)

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01 – Prelude… Invitation To Love
02 – Love Dance
03 – The Look Of Love
04 – At Last
05 – Prelude… Jenny’s Serenade Of Love
06 – The Song Is You (Feat. Joe Gransden & The JG Big Band)
07 – Love Me By Name
08 – Touch
09 – Nobody Does It Better
10 – Prelude… Two Hearts Real-Talk In Love
11 – Are You Leaving Me
12 – The One You Used To Be (Memories)
13 – It’s Not About You
14 – Prelude… The Promise For True-Love
15 – Love Is On The Way

 

The Song Is You is Jennifer's first pop album in 23 years and it defies expectations. Produced by Daniel Moore and Jennifer, much of it is her take on standards but there are also previously unrecorded songs and lesser-known compositions. The dynamic vocalist draws from jazz, R&B and Broadway but even when the song is well-known, her interpretation transports the songs into fresh territory. When Holliday tackles "At Last,” for instance, a song that has been done countless times, one would think that there is not much new that could be done with this standard but Jennifer builds it into a hurricane of emotion that is ultimately transcendent. Her version of the Kern/Hammerstein chestnut "The Song Is You,” a song associated with Frank Sinatra, follows the template of Sinatra's classic Nelson Riddle-arranged recordings but Jennifer brings R&B testifying to the big-band swing. Jennifer actually dedicates the title track to Michael Bublé – who she affectionaly calls “Mr. Wonderful.”

But amidst the standards is a memorable pop ballad Jennifer penned for Whitney Houston called "The One You Used To Be.” She also features a classic-sounding R&B song, "Are You Leaving Me" by an unknown author that has only previously been recorded as a demo by Aretha Franklin and "It's Not About You," a new song by neo-soul singer/songwriter Gordon Chambers. Other highlights on The Song Is You include a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch with a stellar version of “Nobody Does It Better.” Also showcases are versions of such lesser-known R&B numbers as "Love Is On The Way" and "Touch." Even when Jennifer sings the classic “The Look Of Love,” at some point she takes you to church, to the depths of her heart and soul in a way that only the great divas can. The orchestrations on the album equally match the sublime artistry exhibited by Holliday. There are no synthesized string or horn sections; it is all high-end live string and horn players, something you rarely hear nowadays. It is an almost shocking reminder of what an accomplished musicians and a great vocalist can do together. Overall The Song Is You is a great reminder of just how powerful a vehicle for human expression music can be. ---examiner.com

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