Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Ernestine Anderson sings with a voice that's real and ripe, full of southern grit, class and soul. Her jazz drips with the blues - or is it that her blues drips with jazz? It doesn't matter, once you hear her first notes, you know it's time to sit back, smile and enjoy. That's especially true on Ms. Anderson's latest album,Nightlife, a live disc recorded at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York. The recording comes from three dates at Dizzy's in 2009 and 2010 (she was a youthful 80 and 81 at the time). She kicks off the set with "I Love Being Here With You," a bouncy, inviting uptempo number, and follows with a lineup of old chestnuts made new by Ms. Anderson's masterful storytelling skills - from "Since I Fell For You" and "Goin' To Chicago Blues" to "Nightlife" and "Never Make Your Move Too Soon." She surrounds herself with a fine band including Houston Person on tenor, Lafayette Harris Jr. comping beautifully on piano, Chip Jackson and Lonnie Plaxico sharing the bass duties and Willie Jones III and Jerome Jennings on drums. As a live recording, the added bonus is a reminder of not only how great Ernestine Anderson is, but also how quick she is. Somebody drops a fork before "Nightlife" and she quips, "Somebody dropped their watch." And when Plaxico brings in a nice, slow tempo to kick off "All Blues," she tells her audience, "I ain't in no hurry." And the crowd howls with delight. That's exactly what Ernestine Anderson is - a delight." -DownBeat
Down Beat (p.60) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Just when you think she'll let intonation, fidelity to songs or sloppy phrasing get too far out of hand, she'll pull a string of blues stanzas out of the air on a brisk tempo and it's she's quite in control."
JazzTimes (p.72) - "[I]t simply serves as testament that the lady has lost none of her sass, wit or verve."
Personnel: Ernestine Anderson (vocals); Houston Person (tenor saxophone); Lafayette Harris, Jr. (piano); Jerome Jennings, Willie Jones III (drums).
Audio Mixer: Katherine Miller.
Liner Note Author: Michael Bourne.
Recording information: Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola Jazz, Lincoln Center (04/04/2008-04/10/2010).
Photographers: Alan Nahigian; R. Andrew Lepley.
After the triumph that was 2008's A Song for You, Ernestine Anderson returns with a live collection compiled from three dates at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola and Jazz at Lincoln Center, recorded between that year and 2010. The mix is a healthy helping of jazz and swinging blues with a top-shelf band. The constants are saxophonist Houston Person, and pianist Lafayette Harris, Jr., with new drummer Jerome Jennings (Willie Jones III plays on the stellar "All Blues"), and alternating bassists Lonnie Plaxico and Chip Jackson. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this date is that Anderson, who was 80 at the time of the earliest of these recordings, is captured at her dusky, sultry, swinging best. It's there in the fingerpopping "I Love Being Here with You," the deeply emotive title track (a fine showcase for Harris), the shimmering backbeat groove in "Only Trust Your Heart," and the jaunty reading of "Falling in Love with Love"-- where she meets meets Person in a call-and-response interchange that is delightful. Anderson lets her deep well of experience, phrasing, and expression compensate handsomely for what age has taken from her range. This set doesn't have the sense of controlled elegance that A Song for You did, but it isn't supposed to. It's a party record, a collection of jazz tunes done with pure blues feeling by an artist who obviously relishes engaging with her band in front of an audience. ~ Thom Jurek
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