CD Review: Betty MacDonald | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Pin It
Favorite

CD Review: Betty MacDonald 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 3:49 pm
(MacDee Music, 2008)
  • (MacDee Music, 2008)

Before the audience at Unison Arts Center in New Paltz for this live 2006 recording, Woodstock vocalist and violinist Betty MacDonald delivers a well-strung set of some of jazz vocalist Billie Holiday’s most venerable trademark tunes. Lady Day’s history and heartache become inspirational rainwater to “I Cover the Waterfront,” “Lover Man,” and “God Bless the Child.” On this, her third self-produced release, MacDonald as griot doesn’t sweeten Holiday’s life story. It wasn’t easy for an outspoken and sensible African-American woman to create and survive in the music business in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. But those attributes were the warp and woof of Holiday’s endurance.

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.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Collaborative Concepts Outdoor Art Exhibit at Tilly Foster Farm @ Tilly Foster Farm

Collaborative Concepts Outdoor Art Exhibit at Tilly Foster Farm

Sept. 7-Oct. 31 — September 5th -October 31st Reception: Saturday, September 4, 2-5pm (Rain date: Sun....
Art Walk Kingston @ Kingston City Hall

Art Walk Kingston

Sept. 18-19, 12-5 p.m. — Art Walk Kingston is a celebration of the arts and the local...

View all of today's events

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in Arts & Culture

It’s high time Chronogram made a newsletter about marijuana. Stay in the know with the latest on dispensary openings, industry news, cultivation tips, and more as we cover the emerging cannabis scene in New York and the Northeast. Welcome to High Society.

Subscribe

* indicates required