Aretha Franklin in Syracuse: M&T Jazz Fest
As the 1st woman ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she’s still Number 1 in every way, and both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known the world over simply by her first name . . . ARETHA!
The reigning and undisputed “Queen Of Soul” has created an amazing legacy that spans an incredible six decades, from her first recording as a teenage gospel star, to her current RCA Records release, “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics”
Her many countless classics include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain Of Fools,” “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”; her own compositions “Think,” “Daydreaming” and “Call Me”; her definitive versions of “Respect” and “I Say A Little Prayer”; and global hits like “Freeway Of Love,” “Jump To It,” her worldwide chart-topping duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”
The recipient of the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, an 18-time (and counting) Grammy Award winner – the most recent of which was for Best Gospel Performance for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with Mary J. Blige - a Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Grammy Living Legend awardee, Aretha Franklin’s powerful, distinctive gospel-honed vocal style has influenced countless singers across multi-generations, justifiably earning her Rolling Stone magazine’s No. 1 ranking on the list of “The Greatest Singers Of All Time.”
With the release of “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics”, Aretha puts her indelible stamp on 10 classic Hit songs previously recorded by other female artists – and in her own inimitable way (as she has time and time again), she makes each one her own.
Working with hit-making producers Clive Davis, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, André “3000” Benjamin, Eric Kupper, Harvey Mason Jr. and Chicago DJ/producer Terry Hunter, co-producing and doing all the vocal arrangements for the project, Aretha has put her personal and ever-soulful stamp on both contemporary hits and time-honored pop, soul and jazz standards, re-imagining certain cuts with the inclusion of cleverly-created mash ups and musical blends such as “I Will Survive” which includes an interlude from Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and “I’m Every Woman,” featuring her latest take on her own timeless anthem, “Respect.”
The result is simply stunning: introducing her brilliant gospel-fired makeover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” (with a wonderful musical bridge from the Motown classic, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) on The David Letterman Show, Aretha received an immediate standing ovation and within a week, the track had received over two million views.
“Mr. Davis came to me with the idea,” says Aretha. “He suggested some of the artists and songs which included many that I myself enjoyed. We both agreed that there was a whole new generation who may never have heard the original recordings.” and I’m “absolutely thrilled with the whole CD and very happy with the work I put into it,”
Celebrating having her 100th R&B-charted single with “Rolling In The Deep (The Aretha Version),” making her the first woman and fourth artist in history to have done so, Aretha says, “I recorded it in between doing shows on the road so it was hectic - and I’m very happy with everything on this project. Working with Mr. Davis again - well, there’s nothing like it. We’re a perfect match: he’s very genuine and there’s mutual respect. He’s not just another chieftain – he cares. The producers were all great. Adding another magnificent jewel to her crown and her catalog of timeless music, Aretha expresses the kind of joy usually experienced by first-time recording artists, noting: “I’m truly having a lot of fun and I’m bowled over by the response to this album. It’s truly very, very, very exciting!”
Ms Franklin, who previously headlined the 25th Anniversary M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest in 2007, will close out the 33rd Annual edition of Jazz Fest with a 9:30 pm performance on Saturday, July 18th at OCC, marking the Queen’s long-awaited Jazz Fest return, and 1st Syracuse-Area Appearance in 8 years.