Shirley HORN – Light Out of Darkness (A Tribute To Ray Charles) 1993

Shirley HORN – Light Out of Darkness (A Tribute To Ray Charles) 1993

Jazz

It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the colour of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colourful like that

It’s not that easy being green
It seems to blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over
Cos you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles on the water
Or stars in the sky

But green is the colour of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean or important like a mountain
Or tall like a tree

But if green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder, why wonder
I’m green and it’ll do fine
And it’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be
**
For this change of pace, singer/pianist Shirley Horn performs 15 songs associated with Ray Charles. Of course, Horn sounds nothing like Charles, but she sometimes captures his spirit on such songs as “Hit the Road, Jack,” “You Don’t Know Me” (which finds her switching to organ), “Makin’ Whoopee” and “How Long Has This Been Going On.” Joined by her regular trio (with bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Willliams), some of the songs have Ables switching effectively to guitar, while Tyler Mitchell fills in on bass. Altoist Gary Bartz guests on five of the dozen selections. While emphasizing ballads, as one always expects, this is a fun set that includes more medium-tempo tunes than usual for a Shirley Horn set.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
**
Shirley Horn’s tribute to Ray Charles is typically idiosyncratic yet unaffected by a need to justify the critical hype. She plays organ as well as piano while Charles Ables doubles on bass and guitar and Gary Bartz adds soulful alto-sax obliggatos. Horn’s versions of “Hit the Road, Jack” and “I Got a Man” replace the gospel fire of the originals with sexy, lighthearted swing, while “Drown in My Own Tears” is more torch ballad than bluesy hymn. The album’s emotional centerpiece is “Green (It’s Not Easy Being Green),” a tune Brother Ray borrowed from Kermit the Frog. Amazingly, Horn finds deeper meaning in the lyric than either of them.
By Rick Mitchell.
**
The stunning LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS is at once Shirley Horn’s loving tribute to the genius of Ray Charles, a stylistic departure from the introspective jazz balladry she’s known for, and a journey into the world of R&B. Horn and her trio swing hard on these tracks, and the organic R&B tinged jazz arrangements absolutely simmer, with Horn singing, playing piano, and Hammond B-3 organ. Her distinctive sultry and smoky vocals are bluesy and conversational, similar in approach to Charles’. Horn’s masterly chord cluster style of piano playing punctuates her every vocal phrase.

Her heartfelt solo rendition of “Being Green” forms the emotional centerpiece of the record, while other highlights include rocking versions of “Bye Bye Love” and “Hard Hearted Hannah,” as well as the gorgeous vision of love lost, “The Sun Died.” LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS displays Ray Charles’s influence on the artistry of Shirley Horn to superb effect.
**
Shirley Horn- Vocals, Piano, Organ)
Charles Ables- Guitar, Bass
Tyler Mitchell- Bass  (#1-2, 7, 9, 12, 13)
Gary Bartz- Alto Saxophone  (#3-5, 7, 9, 12)
The Hornettes- Background Vocals
Steve Williams- Drums
**
01. Hit The Road Jack 3:11
02. Just A Little Lovin’ Will Go A Long Way 4:07
03. You Don’t Know Me 2:58
04. Drown In My Own Tears 5:04
05. Hard Hearted Hannah 3:36
06. Georgia On My Mind 5:20
07. Makin’ Whoopie 3:54
08. (Being) Green 3:16
09. Bye Bye Love 5:26
10. The Sun Died 5:39
11. How Long Has This Been Going On 4:01
12. If You Were Mine 3:25
13. I Got A Man 3:25
14. Just For A Thrill 4:25
15. Light Out Of Darkness 5:25
**

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