After six years of acclaimed cabaret performances, diva Mama Alto and her musical directress Miss Chief spent November 2016 in an extraordinary entirely analogue recording facility for vinyl records, Alex Bennett’s Sound Recordings. Recorded live to tape on original vintage sound equipment - including an actual machine used by Nat King Cole himself at Capitol Records, and an RCA microphone of the kind favoured by Sarah Vaughan - the result is a stunning capture of their best loved song interpretations from their extensive jazz repertoire, released across a four record anthology.
LADY SINGS THE BLUES:
Lady Day, Lady in Satin, the Lady of Dark Sorrows, the Lady with Gardenias in Her Hair. The great Billie Holiday was a complex and captivating icon. Her voice and her songs were idiosyncratic, exquisite, and powerful. Her interpretations, her phrasing, and her stories through song balanced joy and sorrow, pathos and intellect. She is amongst my most treasured musical influences, and in 2015 it was my great honour and privilege to present a tribute to the 100th year since the birth of Billie Holiday, as part of the wonderful American Songbook Festival in the Salon of the Melbourne Recital Centre - one of the finest acoustic spaces in the southern hemisphere. “Lady Sings The Blues” celebrated the triumph and sorrow of Lady Day, saluting her centenary, exploring her legacy, and capturing moments of her life and music in a mosaic of story and song. Billie Holiday was one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, and touched many lives. Even one hundred years after her birth, we remember her as a singer, a songwriter, a musician with immense stylistic and interpretive talent, a philosopher, an activist and a figurehead, and an agent of social change through her life and her music. When we set out to record selections from our repertoire, the inclusion of songs from our tribute to Billie Holiday were an essential inclusion.
With much love to Billie Holiday, and much love to you, dear listener -
- Mama Alto xx