Etta James' 'Blue Gardenia' Blooms In August
More than 37 years after making her first recording with her vocal trio the Peaches, legendary vocalist Etta James will on Aug. 21 release her latest album, "Blue Gardenia." The Private Music collectiMore than 37 years after making her first recording with her vocal trio the Peaches, legendary vocalist Etta James will on Aug. 21 release her latest album, "Blue Gardenia." The Private Music collection of standards also features a guest vocal by James' mother, Dorothy Leatherwood, on the title track.
"Blue Gardenia" reteams James with producer John Snyder after a one-album break. Snyder produced five past James albums -- 1992's "Right Time," 1994's "Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday," 1995's "Time After Time," 1998's "12 Songs of Christmas," and 1999's "Heart of a Woman." With more than three decades of production under his belt, Snyder has worked with a who's who of the music world, including Duke Ellington, George Benson, John Denver, Dave Brubeck, the Guess Who, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins.
Among the selections -- described as the songs of the '30s, '40s, and '50s to which James grew up listening -- is "This Bitter Earth," "He's Funny That Way," Duke Ellington's "In My Solitude," "There Is No Greater Love," "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," "Love Letters," "These Foolish Things," Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Cry Me a River," and "My Man."
On the new set, the follow up to last year's "Matriarch of the Blues," James is backed by formidable players, including longtime guitarist Josh Sklair. Others in her backing band are pianist Cedar Walton (John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard), bassist Tony Dumas (Gerald Albright, Art Pepper), drummer Ralph Pendland (Hubbard, Dianne Reeves), Red Holloway (B.B. King, John Mayall) on tenor saxophone, George Bohannon (Cannonball Adderly, Natalie Cole) on trombone, and Ronnie Buttacavoli (Brubeck) on trumpet.
James, who won this year's soul blues female artist of the year title at the annual WC Handy Blues Awards, has scattered live performances scheduled through October, including an appearance Thursday (July 19) in Riverside, Calif. Also on her schedule is an Aug. 31-Sept. 1 stand at B.B. King's Blues Club in New York.
Here are Etta James' confirmed tour dates:
July 19: Riverside, Calif. (Historical Square)
July 29: Saratoga, Calif. (Villa Montalvo Garden Theatre)
Aug. 15: Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl)
Aug. 19: Albuquerque, N.M. (Midnight Rodeo)
Aug. 23: St. Paul, Minn. (O'Shaughnessy Auditorium)
Aug. 25: Chicago (House Of Blues)
Aug. 30-31, Sept. 1: New York (B.B. King's Blues Club)
Sept. 4-5: Alexandria, Va. (the Birchmere)
Sept. 8: New Orleans (House of Blues)
Oct. 5: Las Vegas (House of Blues)
Oct. 12: West Hollywood, Calif. (House of Blues)
Oct. 13: Anaheim, Calif. (House of Blues)
Oct. 26: San Francisco (Jazz Festival)