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Etta Jones: The Way We Were

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Though never anywhere near as celebrated as Billie Holiday and Lester Young, the team of Etta Jones and Houston Person was a sublimely simpatico pairing of vocalist and sax virtuoso. This 12-track date, captured live at Cleveland’s Tri-C Jazz Festival in April 2000, barely a year before Jones’ death at 72, represents the pinnacle of their three-decade professional union. Shades of Holiday have always been evident in Jones’ delivery, and grew more pronounced over the years. But here the septuagenarian singer more strongly suggests the late-career magnificence of Maxine Sullivan. As with the elder Sullivan, there is a seasoned easiness about Jones, a sense of sagacious comfort that is heightened by Person’s loyal presence.

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