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Issue 1084

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Review

NATALIE COLE: Leavin'

Natalie Cole

10

6.1

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UK release date 26.02.2007

Now hereâs an interesting fact - Natalie Cole has scored as many Stateside R&B chart toppers as her father, the legendary Nat âKingâ Cole. According to the record books, both have straddled the top of the Billboard urban charts six times in their careers.

Patently, Natalie Cole is an artist who established a career on her own merits and didnât hitch a ride on the coattails of her fatherâs success. Now 57 - but miraculously looking like someone in their thirties - itâs almost 20 years since her last No.1, 1987âs âMiss You Like Crazy.â This new album might not catapult her to the top of the charts but it has been getting heavy rotation on BBC Radio 2 - it was recently Ken Bruceâs album of the week no less - and looks set to get the British public enthusiastically reacquainted with her music.
As its title implies, âLeavinââ is something of a musical departure for its creator. Here, Cole - together with producer Dallas Austin, who does a sterling job by the way - has elected to do a covers album, though itâs far removed from the jazz standards outings she has done in the more recent past. Backed by a real band, Cole puts her own soulful spin on an eclectic collection of material that ranges stylistically from pop and rock to country and R&B. Coleâs rendering of Neil Youngâs folk-inflected âOld Manâ is absolutely sensational, as is her infectious reading of Arethaâs âDay Dreaming.â She really does give Arethaâs original a run for its money. That might sound like blasphemy in soul music circles, but here Natalie Cole reminds us what an utterly brilliant vocalist she is. She covers tunes by Sting, Kate Bush, Fiona Apple and Shelby Lynne but transforms them into soulful testaments from her own experience. Thereâs a gorgeous version of the Isley Brothersâ âDonât Say Goodnight (Itâs Time For Love)â too.
The more I hear this album, the more I like it. Its brilliance glistens with each repeated listen.
Words Charles Waring

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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