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Roots: My Life, My Song

Jessye Norman , various Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Price: $16.73 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Richard Wagner, the most controversial figure the arts have ever seen.


Jessye Norman is one of the most celebrated artists of our century. She is also among the most distinguished in a long line of American sopranos who refused to believe in limits, a shining member of an artistic pantheon that has included Rosa Ponselle, Maria Callas, Leontyne Price and now this daughter of Augusta, Georgia. "Pigeonholing," said Norman, "is only interesting to ... Read more in Amazon's Jessye Norman Store

Visit Amazon's Jessye Norman Store
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Roots: My Life, My Song + Stand Up Straight and Sing! + Very Best Of Jessye Norman
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jessye Norman
  • Conductor: various
  • Composer: various
  • Audio CD (June 15, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • ASIN: B0039MJ4P8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,679 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. African Drum Invocation
2. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
3. I Want Two Things
4. Lord, I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray 5. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
5. Heaven
6. Somewhere
7. My Baby Just Cares for Me 9. Stormy Weather
8. Mack The Knife
9. Another Man Done Gone
10. Pretty Horses
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Les Chemins De L'Amour
2. J'ai Deux Amours
3. April In Paris
4. Habanera
5. Take The 'A' Train
6. Blue Monk
7. Solitude
8. It Don't Mean A Thing
9. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
10. When The Saints Go Marching In

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Jessye Norman is one of the world's most famous sopranos. So we have one question: Why'd we have to wait so long (10 years!) for this 2-disc solo album, her most personal project to date? This musical journey reflects her exciting life--from her years as a poor music student to the most internationally successful and highly acclaimed female classical artist since Callas. Recorded live at Berlin's Philharmonie, Roots: My Life, My Song covers the history of the great black American music tradition: from the drums of Africa via spirituals and gospels to Ellington and Monk. It's also a tribute to Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Lena Horne, Odetta and Ella Fitzgerald---those women who have inspired Jessye. Her sumptuous sound, her joy of singing and spontaneous passion, shares the spotlight here. Let's hope we don't have to wait another decade.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
In her new two disc album, Jessye Norman has given us an a gift that is as sure to infuriate as many as it delights. This is as it should be. The live album (recorded before an audience at the Berlin Symphonie) is a musical journey - almost a theatre piece - of Norman's life as a proud, black African American woman of song.

It opens with a rhythmic overture of African drums serving as a sort of "call to order" which doesn't so much end as it does flow into her first number, an a capella rendition of "His eye is on the sparrow" - slowly an instrument, a drone, is heard as we move into the spiritual "I want two wings" - as the instruments progress with the singer directly, marvelously, into "I couldn't hear nobody pray" with the singer and her musicians increasing in intensity through this steady stream. The effect is as if walking down the darkest of halls or paths, lost, blindly, eyes adjusting slowly to the darkness and moving toward a single shaft of light, distant, faint, that, with each step increases both in warmth and brilliance. It is a tremendous effect.

Norman uses her instrument as the best jazz or classical musicians do, with a sound that is usually immediately identifiable, but willing to do everything and anything within its means to achieve an artistic purpose, bending melodies, pitch, lightening the voice to a thin, almost childlike sound, or opening up and bathing the room in a lush warmth you never want to end. Some, particularly strictly classical audiences, will find this disturbing (indeed early reviews have called the album "painful" and "disgusting" and "shameless." Everyone of those "critics" may be right in not liking what she's done here, but are wrong . . .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare bird December 22, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
just delightful, Jessye Norman sings like a rare bird.
I was glad to hear her in Brazil on October 19 at the theater Castro Alves - Salvador - Bahia. I was impressed with the voice and charisma that she gave us during the presentation.
All that charisma can be felt on CD roots: my life, my song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Paul
Format:Audio CD
MAGNIFICENT. I too will complain, Jessye, why did you make us wait for 10 years?

While you're at it, look for her FOUR LAST SONGS of Strauss on the Philips label. It will draw tears. Bravo Jessye !!!! We want MORE.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Not only does Norman cover both the opera and jazz sides of music with her voice but she has the musical accompaniment behind her to match. There are places in this concert recording (it is not a studio recording) where the jazz musicians get to stretch out too! Not to take away from Norman's brilliant performance but jazz fans will love this bonus. I won't go into the details for perfornce as it's already been don - and well, I might add - by reviewer Paolo. I'll just point out that the musical styles are paced nicely. And her spoken introductions show how immersed she is in the music, whether opera, spirituals or jazz. Norman covers all bases!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful voice. Wide range of genres July 4, 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Beautiful voice. Wide range of genres. Too many. You only play the CD when you want to specifically hear her voice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Listen June 5, 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Enoyed this CD immensely! Great variety of music, well-arranged. It's wonderful to hear Ms. Norman's voice again. Highly recommend this.
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