Magnificent, fabulous, hot, swinging - and at times blue - this album is a magnificnent tribute to Billie Holiday... With the great support of James Carter on various reeds + alto-flute, Edsel Gomez (the arranger of the album) on piano, versatile Christian McBride on bass and hard driving Lewis Nash on drums, Dee Dee does what she does best. Her voice is strong, her rhythm contagious, her exuberance impressive, as she celebrates one of the best singers in jazz (without imitating her)... There are glimpses of Billie's vocal technique now and then but this is Dee Dee, performing inimitably her own music, mainstream jazz as it is in 21 century (with traces of things that happened after Billie left the world of jazz)... How sad was I she cancelled her concert in my town due to problems in the air-traffic. I can only imagine how powerful she would be alive if she is smokin' on this beautiful tribute CD (comparable to her own tribute to Ella or, for instance, to Carmen McRae's tribute to Monk)... She can even sing "Strange Fruit" with originality combined with reverence, and it is one of the song even Billie's jazz chops were threading a very thin line...
When the first track started I thought oh no....this is not the way I like this song to sound....I love Dee Dee but I do not like all her work just because its her...for instance I cannot bear to hear her sing in French which she does a lot as I think she lives there.
However, the good news is that this album is crazy but wonderful, the musical arrangements are sublime and Dee Dee happily does her own thing throughout, singing and scatting and even dying a bit emotionally on the final track. Its a whirlwind, its a saga of Holiday's songs,with Dee Dee's signature and is one to keep!!
I highly recommend that any serious jazz collector has to have this one on in the collection. First Class!!