Yesterday I Had The Blues - The Music Of Billie Holiday
Label: UNIVERSAL MUSIC LLC
After a couple fusion-ish albums of jazzy R&B, James goes old-school (and mostly acoustic) on this set of songs associated with Lady Day. James doesn't ape her -- how could he? -- but does sing with sophisticated cool. His backing band is ace; check out pianist Jason Moran's way with "Body and Soul." As expected, the album trends somber, though the group puts a low-end spin on Holiday's "Fine and Mellow," employs modern swing on "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and renders "God Bless the Child" as organ-driven soul. Plus James has a strong, spooky way with the hard-to-cover "Strange Fruit."