Gary Motley

Echoes of Billie

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Echoes of Billie Review

by Ken Dryden

Pianist Gary Motley recorded a series of five solo piano tribute CDs in the late 1990s for Intersound, with the idea to bring out the lyrical qualities of each vocalist or jazz composer being saluted. He chose ten ballads to honor Billie Holiday, including standards like "Body and Soul" and "Lover Man," which are indelibly associated with her, though his approach is low key and not necessarily anything like what she might have wanted to accompany her. One of his most intriguing choices is "("I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over," a piece not as widely known to the casual fan of Billie Holiday. The mood of this CD is very relaxing, and while it doesn't break new ground, it is an enjoyable session. Sadly, all of Motley's tributes made for Intersound are no longer available due to the folding of the label.

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