MacDonald’s rendition of “Body and Soul,” unlike Holiday’s, which haunts and drags at the soul, has a wistful feel to it. But, more in synch and swing with Holiday, MacDonald, along with keyboardist Peter Tomlinson and bassist Jim Curtin, do up a medley that includes “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” (MacDonald brings out her violin for a sweet solo on the last). With every song, MacDonald bends with Billie, shading the difficulties of her time on Earth (1915-1959) with supple notes, notably in Holiday’s composition “Don’t Explain.”
MacDonald, who had performed Holiday’s music prior to this concert, elevates Tribute by never focusing on sounding like her, just sounding for her. www.macdeemusic.com.