An album of jazz standards Diana Ross recorded more than 30 years ago will see the light of day for the first time this summer. Due June 20 via Motown/UME, “Blue” was intended as a companion to the hit 1972 soundtrack to “Lady Sings the Blues,” in which Ross portrayed jazz legend Billie Holiday.
However, Ross instead followed up the project with the pop album “Touch Me in the Morning,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. In its wake, “Blue” was shelved; the master tapes were only recently discovered in Motown’s vault, according to the label.
“Blue” was produced and arranged by longtime Ross collaborator Gil Askey. It features such selections as Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It,” Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “But Beautiful,” the Gershwin Brothers’ “I Loves Ya Porgy” and the Motown original “Had You Been Around,” which was performed in “Lady Sings the Blues” by Michelle Allar.
Several other tracks appeared in alternate form on the “Lady Sings the Blues” soundtrack, while different takes of “Little Blue Girl” and “Smile” wound up on “Touch Me in the Morning” and Ross’ 1976 self-titled album, respectively.
“Blue” is rounded out by three bonus tracks (“Easy Living,” “He’s Funny That Way” and Duke Ellington’s “Solitude”) that were recorded during the “Lady Sings the Blues” sessions but never released.
Ross has not released a new studio album since 1999’s “Every Day Is a New Day.”