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Natalie Cole leaves jazz behind

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Did not realize she had been part of the jazz scene for the last 10 years :(

From The Chicago SunTimes today:

Natalie Cole 'Leavin' ' jazz behind with classic pop CD

October 31, 2006

BY MIRIAM DI NUNZIO Staff Reporter

Natalie Cole has a new attitude these days. It's not just in the way she's feeling, she says, but in the way she's now approaching her music. Gone is the jazz that was her world for the last 10 years. In its wake is "Leavin' " (Verve), a collection of classic pop with some surprising twists and turns.

The 46-year-old Grammy winner talked to the Sun-Times about her 20th album.

Q. The album reveals a side of you the music biz hasn't seen.

A. Exactly. It started off as an idea of wanting to do a contemporary album rather than a jazz album. As I'm on a jazz label, we worked very hard to persuade the label to do this project, and they let us go ahead with it.

Q. How did you narrow down your final lineup?

A. The whole idea was to take songs that really spoke to me in a special way and that would allow me to stretch as an artist at the same time. Certain songs we kept right to the structure of the tune, like the Neil Young song ["Old Man"]. It's the same structure only we used piano instead of banjo. The [Fiona] Apple ["Criminal"] song is the exact opposite. We just tore up that one. We kept the lyrics, kept her intensity, sped up the tempo, put some guitar licks on there and gave it a little flavor of our own. We had so much fun with that one.

Q. You also veer into hip-hop with "Day Dreaming," which might surprise a lot of people.

A. It just worked for that song. It has that feel to it. It's very hip and fresh. We weren't even thinking about the whole intimidation factor because it's this incredible Aretha Franklin song. We just had fun with it and it surprised even us when we were done with it. It's one of my favorite songs of all time.

Q. The title of the album says a lot about where you are musically.

A. Yes. I've done a lot of great work in the jazz genre and there's still a lot more for me to do. But I didn't feel it was motivating me as much as it did after "Unforgettable." I decided I was bored musically. So this is a nice exit from the jazz world if you will. It's a whole new side of me, and I feel really strong and empowered.

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she's got a frightfully high opinion of herself "I've done a lot of great work in the jazz genre" but this line really cracked me up:

As I'm on a jazz label, we worked very hard to persuade the label to do this project, and they let us go ahead with it.

I seriously doubt that in today's market it took any arm twisting to get Verve to do this album. In fact its more likely that they came to her with the idea, and she just doesn't want to say that publicly.

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Does anyone even know of her outside of her "duet" with her late father?

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Does anyone even know of her outside of her "duet" with her late father?

Well, I heard her cover of "Pink Cadillac" before I heard Springsteen's original version.

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Does anyone even know of her outside of her "duet" with her late father?

Well, I heard her cover of "Pink Cadillac" before I heard Springsteen's original version.

Always thought that was either Patti Labelle or the Pointer Sisters. Learn something new every day, I guess.

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I always thought that was Aretha Franklin...

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Does anyone even know of her outside of her "duet" with her late father?

Well, I heard her cover of "Pink Cadillac" before I heard Springsteen's original version.

Always thought that was either Patti Labelle or the Pointer Sisters. Learn something new every day, I guess.

I thought it was Aretha???

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I thought it was Aretha, too. But what we are thinking of is Aretha's "Freeway of Love" which had the line: "Goin' ridin' on the freeway of love In my pink cadillac." Clarence Clemons' presence on the song only adds to the potential for confusion. Apparently, Aretha never did "Pink Cadillac."

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Does anyone even know of her outside of her "duet" with her late father?

She is revered in the R&B / classic soul world and had a string of hits during the 70s.

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Y'all gotta be kidding me...

Natalie Cole was quite the R&B superstar in the mid-70s. I wasn't paying too much attention to the "crossover" market back then, but I'm pretty sure she crossed over into the Top-40 on several occasions. "This Will Be", that song on the e-dating commercial, was her first hit, and it was a big one. "Inseperable" was another. She also made the cover of Rolling Stone when she first broke (they dubbed her "the next Aretha" or some foolishness like that). And her version of "Pink Cadillac" was a staple in cover bands I played in for many a (long and wearying) year. So yeah, I had definitely heard of Natalie Cole before the "Unforgettable" thing.

She's a damn good singer. I have next to no personal interest in her more recent work, but she's a damn good singer.

Now, where's that "jazz behind", and where did she leave it? :g

Edited by JSngry

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Thank you trane fanatic!

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Natalie Cole was a jazz artist? News to me...then I guess Michael Bolton, George Winston, Yanni and others must be, too...

Natalie, it's time to quit riding on your late father's reputation.

Edited by Ken Dryden

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Natalie Cole was a jazz artist? News to me...then I guess Michael Bolton, George Winston, Yanni and others must be, too...

Natalie, it's time to quit riding on your late father's reputation.

Again - she was a star, a big star, long before she got into this "jazz" stuff. Do the homework.

And althogh it's not something I care to own, the songs from her album before this one weren't bad at all. The arrangements were great, and she's a damn fine singer. Helluva lot better than any other "pop star"'s attempts at this type of material. Her Daddy Nostalgia is kind of lame, but other than that, she's done pretty good with this material, better than Krall, Monheidt, you name'em. Again, regardless of genre, the woman is a damn fine singer.

"Jazz people" can be really clueless sometimes. Anybody who thinks that all she is is a halfass wannabe playing on her father's name falls into that category.

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I've always known Natalie as an R&B/soul singer. I was saddened when she felt the need to trade on her father's name and reputation. It's a pity, because she was quite good in the 70s.

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Sorry for the redundant post, Jim. I hadn't read the whole thread when I posted.

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And her version of "Pink Cadillac" was a staple in cover bands I played in for many a (long and wearying) year.

True enough. As I was reading the thread, I was trying to remember that Pink Cadillac. Then when I clicked on the video I flashed back to doing time in the Bill Tillman band and slamming that one out in lotsa D/FW clubs, circa '89 '90. :rfr

But you're right, the girl can definitely sing!

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Her mother sang with Duke if I recall. People have compared Natalie's interpretations on the album "Unforgettable" to Jeri Southern. Heard it was her Mother who suggested Natalie "come home" and leave the rock and roll life with all its pit falls, that the music of the family could get her back on her feet. The professionalism of the "Unforgettable" tour was at a high commercial level -- I heard that tour in Kalamazoo. Harold Jones driving those charts with brushes was impeccable. The arrangements, which are from the professional working Hollywood writers, Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Clare Fischer, Marty Paich, were cast toward her range with few tenor solos, more trumpet, guitar and piano, and all brief -- the effect was to showcase her. Natalie was flawless, her performance was so well paced she hit everything. And it was swinging. Her "show" lived up to the highest professional standards of what pop music used to be and was entertaining. It was big band music. I don't own that album emotionally the way she or her fans do but there was no denying that it was honest. I believe her Father's music saved her life.

Edited by Lazaro Vega

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I remember sitting at the bar of Syracuse's Casa de Lisa Lounge on Erie Blvd East in 1977, listening to the bartender telling another customer that she was looking forward to seeing Natalie Cole next week. After that it's all a blur. [End of Anecdote]

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Damn fine singer? Maybe. But she never did anything for me. I have tried to listen to her. I have even heard her in concert. I remember her once singing "Ain't Nobody's Business if I do," which struck me as one of most shallow and antiseptic takes on the blues that I have ever heard.

But I guess that taste is taste. :)

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She may not be coasting on her Dad's reputation, but she has a ways to go before she has any real claim on being a *jazz* singer, which is part of the problem...

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I always thought she was ok but about the same quality as about 15 other singers, nothing special, either as a jazz or r&b singer - and she's no Mrs. Miller -

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She may not be coasting on her Dad's reputation, but she has a ways to go before she has any real claim on being a *jazz* singer, which is part of the problem...

True enough, and it's a distance to go that probably nobody, including herself, expects/wants/needs her to go other than "jazz purists", who seem to be under the naive illusion that the labels used at this level of the industry are about anything other than marketing. Or that there's a snowball's chance in hell of there being any "real" jazz singers around today residing more than a block or two away from the underground who don't have at least one eye on the pop world at at least some level. Same as it ever was, and the beat goes on...

In the meantime, Natalie Cole has been as good as anybody else in this illusory world, and better than most. And frankly, depending on who produced it, I'd be more interested in hearing her do something "contemporary" than I would another go 'round of Songs For People Who Missed Them The First (Or Tenth) Time Around. She's at the age now where doing anything "cutting edge" probably ain't gonna happen (and truthflly, even in the '70s, as good as she was, she wasn't aiming at that type of thing), so what we have to look forward to is another album of music that's designed to be lightly, pleasantly, & honestly engaging w/o being empty and/or cynically manipulative ear candy. Same as her R&B stuff, same as her "jazz" stuff. There's an honorable enough place for that, and I'd rather it be occupied by somebody w/her skills and taste than by singers who really don't have a clue (or half the skills), of which there are many.

Because at this level, it's all about "pop" and marketing, and the music is just the product. And like any other area of commerce, you can have good (or even great) product or you can not have it. Duke said it best - it's my job to make the records, it's your job to sell them. Or, if we prefer, that there's only two kinds of music...

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She may not be coasting on her Dad's reputation, but she has a ways to go before she has any real claim on being a *jazz* singer, which is part of the problem...

So how many kids does that Ravi Shankar dude have anyway?

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I think she's really cute.

Oh. And she can SING.

:)

I remember her from the seventies. I had a girlfriend who had her recoreds. She was reallly cute.

Edited by jazzbo

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