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Soul Call

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Through six albums, Nnenna Freelon has proven herself a versatile singer with exquisite taste, a sure sense of swing, and immaculate articulation and phrasing. Though originally compared to Sarah Vaughan, Freelon has carved her niche and developed her own style, no mean feat in the jazz-unfriendly 1990s. Like many contemporary jazz singers, Freelon doesn't stick to the jazz canon to make her point. Sure, she can sing and scat standards (like "Just in Time" here) all night long, but why stay there? While she cavorts through funk, pop, gospel, and jazz stylings on Soulcall, Freelon infuses it all--her singing, arrangements, and even weak choices of cover songs--with the kind of steel-willed direction, skill, and dedication that simply make anything she chooses to sing work like a charm. So a hoary chestnut like "Let It Be Me" becomes a beautiful love call; "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (with Take 6) and "Paper Moon" become sparkling, expansive, jazz gems. Freelon remakes every song in her own image, erasing Aretha from memory on "Say a Little Prayer for You" and turning "Amazing Grace" and "Nearer My God to Thee" into compelling personal declarations of faith. The title track bubbles over gentle bossa nova waves, Freelon's voice as sumptuous as sculpted honey, a beautiful instrument from a woman who fills every second with grace. --Ken Micallef
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: September 12, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Concord Records
  • Run Time: 54 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004XMZX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,396 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
WOW~ it was worth the wait! Nnenna's new CD has it all at its beck and Soulcall. The cover artwork is mesmerizing and her voice is so big and beautiful. She sounds better than ever and her band shines throughout (especially on the trio version of "Amazing Grace"). My favorites are the Ella-esque leadoff track "Better Than Anything", the sultry "Let It Be Me" (featuring Kirk Whalum on sax) and the uplifting ballad "One Child At A Time" with background vocals by Sounds of Blackness. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Take 6 join Nnenna on an amazing acappella version of Nat King Cole's "Straighten Up and Fly Right". If you enjoy Jazz, Gospel or just a wonderful soulful singer, Soulcall is spellbinding! In fact, I venture to wager that there will be a lot of newborns named Nnenna in the years to come.
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Format: Audio CD
Well! Where do we begin? I wish I knew how to say "this CD is absolutely splendid" in 387 different languages, not excluding Tagalog, Urdu, Welsh, Sanskrit, Esperanto and Old Church Slavonic.
Was listening to WGBH radio here in Boston about three weeks ago when "Better than Anything" came on, and I stopped and thought WHO IS THIS? Awesome song. And then, the performance of "Straighten Up" on the Grammys with Take 6: I've been cool-down-poppa-ing ever since!
Can't think of the exact words to describe the enticing slyness of the vocal delivery in the old standard "Button Up Your Overcoat", but suffice it to say it has to be heard to be believed.
There is the urgent sincerity of "One Child at a Time," and there are two versions of "Amazing Grace" (the trio version excels). "I Say a Little Prayer for You" -- one of the best tracks on this compact disc.
In the liner notes, Nnenna Freelon tells us that she finds "the same spiritual power" in songs intended for praise of God and "in certain songs not necessarily written for praise purposes." Furthermore, "all good things come from the same source." Well, praise to that Source for inspiring Nnenna to sing these songs and to sing them the way she does.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With the exception of Kirk Whalum , his real name ? most of the folks here remain largely innocent of jazz crimes and overproduction . If you were to hear , say , SHAKING FREE , it would be totally understandable that you did not believe it was the same artist . Beverly Botsford (percussion) and Takana Miyamoto (piano and keyboards) should receive light jail sentences . As pertains to authentic jazz musicians such as Chris Potter , Joe Beck , James Williams , Ray Drummond and Ed Thigpen ? They gotta eat . They and Ms. Freelon are forgiven for going "World Teacher" . Plead temporary insanity you bunch . It often works. Painful .
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Format: Audio CD
I just picked up this cd, and I love it. I noticed that she's nominated for two Grammys (including Best Jazz Vocal), and will also be performing on the show (Wed. Feb. 21st). I hope she wins, considering this is my favorite album of the year!
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Format: Audio CD
This is my first Nnenna Freelon CD, and I fear I did not choose wisely. Her voice is beautiful, warm, enticing, but I do not like many of the songs she chose for the album, and when I do like the song, I find the arrangement, backup vocals, and odd R&B/gospel touches annoying. It's not worth it to me to cringe through "One Child at a Time" to get to "Nearer My God to Thee". Your mileage may vary, but the tracks on this album are too far from the lounge and too close to the easy listening station for my taste.
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