JazzTimes (2/97, p.110) - "...a lavish showcase for a splendid singer: luscious contralto, three-octave range, smack-on intonation, intelligent phrasing, clean diction, daring scat and vocalese. Style is breathy-dramatic, but faithful to songs..."
Tributee: Ella Fitzgerald.
Personnel: Ann Hampton Callaway (vocals); Wynton Marsalis (trumpet); Cyrus Chestnut (piano); Christian McBride (double bass); Lewis Nash (drums).
Ann Hampton Callaway has a strong reputation as one of the top cabaret singers of the 1990's but, unlike most others in that idiom, she is also a talented jazz singer. Callaway, who has a beautiful voice with a wide range, always swings while giving strong emphasis to the lyrics she is interpreting. Her ambitious and successful Ella Fitzgerald tribute uses on some songs a string section (recorded in Estonia), an American big band, a trio consisting of pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash and (On "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" and "How High The Moon") guest trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Although Callaway does not sound that much like Ella, she pays tribute to the First Lady of Song through her repertoire (14 superior standards), phrasing and joyful swing. Highpoints include "A Fine Romance," "But Not For Me," an emotional "Little Girl Blue" and a stomping rendition of "Lady Be Good." This is a highly recommended elease that both serves as a memorial to Ella and as a strong introduction for jazz listeners to Ann Hampton Callaway. ~ Scott Yanow