Terence Blanchard

The Billie Holiday Songbook

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Trumpeter Terence Blanchard's tribute to Billie Holiday is a rather melancholy and often downbeat affair. Sounding less original than usual (he displays a strong Wynton Marsalis influence and also hints at times at both Miles Davis and Thad Jones), there is little joy to these renditions of Lady Day material other than the second half of "I Cried for You." The trumpeter's arrangements for the unswinging string section is occasionally oppressive, sometimes border on muzak and tends to weigh down the music. The only bright spot are the five fine vocals by Jeanie Bryson, who wisely does not try to sound like Holiday and comes across quite well. Otherwise this is a disappointing outing.

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