Jessica Lee | Bluebird Fly

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Blues: Blues Vocals Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Bluebird Fly

by Jessica Lee

A soulful and sultry handling of blues, jazz and pop tunes.
Genre: Blues: Blues Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Why Don't You Do Right
4:29 album only
2. Get Here
4:46 album only
3. Hear Me Talkin' to Ya
4:31 album only
4. Right Place Right Now
4:31 album only
5. I Just Wanna Love Somebody
5:24 album only
6. Weary Blues
5:46 album only
7. Damn Your Eyes
4:41 album only
8. Lover Man
4:38 album only
9. Son of a Preacher Man
2:53 album only
10. Jezebel
6:56 album only
11. My Baby Left Me
4:07 album only
12. Sometimes I Fell Like a Motherless Child
5:35 album only


Album Notes
In describing the theme of "Bluebird Fly", Jessica stated that she wanted to give voice to the up-lifting energy, power and messages that were the trademarks of early artists in gospel, blues, jazz and soul. Thus, the CD's title reflects the inspirational quality of blues-based music. In crafting this debut album, Jessica has worked with Grammy award-winning engineer Jay Dudt and his partner Hollis Greathouse. The musical selections on "Bluebird Fly" include both originals and standards and showcase the wide variety of Ms. Lee's musical interests and influences. Jay Dudt and Hollis Greathouse predict that these stylistic influences of gospel, blues, jazz and soul for "Bluebird Fly" will especially appeal to fans of such artists as Etta James, Roberta Flack, Peggy Lee, Eva Cassidy and Nancy Wilson. As Jay Dudt notes: "If you appreciate the heart of American music, you will treasure this CD. Jessica's stellar performance is enhanced by some of Pittsburgh's finest musicians. The result is a special listening experience."

Also assisting in the selection of material was Luke Wooten, a successful engineer and producer in Nashville, TN who provided a collection of original songs for Jessica's consideration. This led to the inclusion of the blues track "Right Place Right Now", written by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Rory Bourke and his co-writer Jon McElroy, and to the inclusion of the ballad "I Just Wanna Love Somebody."

After hearing Jessica sing one of the CD's selections - "Why Don't You Do Right" - during a live show at a local jazz club, Peter Longini of the Pittsburgh Technology Council Magazine wrote, "The lyrics to Peggy Lee's smoky, sultry blues ballad, first recorded in 1942, have only been updated a little. Its soulful, and slightly off-beat rendering by the slender brunette on stage, is impeccable."



to write a review

Drew Moniot

Beautiful !
I saw Jessica Lee performing last week at Dowe's here in Pittsburgh. She's as beautiful to look at as she is to listen to. Top notch back-up band. First-rate music. She even hosted a panel discussion about nano-technology between sets (I'm not kidding). Add "intelligent" to "beautiful" and "talented." A really remarkable woman!

A new fan from NJ

Heard about this CD because Luke Wooten (engineer/producer from Nashville) was involved in providing some songs, but got it because I listened to the cuts and thought it was something I'd really enjoy. Jessica has a wonderful, powerful, beautiful voice, and is so adept at jazz/blues--- just an outstanding album from a great new talent. Thanks for the music---Keep it coming!

Jessica Lee

Love it!
This CD is wonderful! It's so nice to come home from work and put her CD on and sit back and relax. I've already had 3 other people ask me who's CD this was. I told them and they were blown away by the music! Thank you so much!

Steven F. Schaefer

Calm your soul and revive your spirit; buy Bluebrid Fly !
The basic ingredients of Bluebird Fly are top notch instrumentals accompanying full, crisp, and moving vocals. The song selections are ideal for sitting back, listening, and taking it all in. You can't help but feel better after each time you listen to Bluebird Fly!

Scott O'Brien Review
It’s refreshing indeed to feast one’s ears on this outstanding new release from Pittsburgh-based songstress Jessica Lee. BLUEBIRD FLY is a wonderful excursion into jazz, soul, and Rhythm & Blues, with a definite emphasis on the Blues. Covering great songs here… from the Louis Armstrong-penned “Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya” and the iconic Lady Day’s “Lover Man,” Dusty Springfield’s hit “Son of a Preacher Man,” to the more contemporary “Jezebel” from Sade and Brenda Russell’s “Get Here.” Ms. Lee caresses the ballads and testifies on the Blues, all with a World-class group of musicians behind her, led by arranger/keyboardist John D’Amico. Jessica’s background is rich with a performing history that includes spiritual/gospel, jazz, and Blues, all of which make her an on-demand performer on the Pittsburgh music scene and beyond. I invite you to discover this compelling vocalist. Jessica Lee’s BLUEBIRD FLY adds a classy, tasteful dimension to the Smooth Jazz format!

Nate Guidry, Jazz Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jessica Lee turns in an impressive debut
Thursday, September 15, 2005

By Nate Guidry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jessica Lee's debut recording, "Bluebird Fly," is a distillation of American music.

Jazz, blues and rhythm & blues meld seamlessly into her considerable vocal palette.

Singer Jessica Lee says she wanted her first recording to be a reflection of her musical influences.

After performing a nod to Bessie Smith, the 35-year-old vocalist unveils two originals and nine other songs ranging from "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Lover Man" to "Hear Me Talkin' to Ya."

"I selected music that over the last five years I've been performing and feel an emotional connection to," said Lee. "I wanted my first recording to have a sampling of music I enjoy ... spirituals, blues and jazz. It's a reflection of where I come from musically."

Lee comes from Franklin, Venango County, where she studied piano and voice. After graduating high school, she moved to Durham, N.C., to study at Duke University, where she completed undergraduate school and law school.

In the mid 1990s, she returned to Pittsburgh and started studying piano, voice and music theory with guitarist and arranger Tony Janflone Sr.

"She is moving along quite well," said Janflone from his home in Washington County. "I think the biggest thing was confidence, and she is starting to gain confidence."

Janflone said he and Lee continue to study together, spending time mostly on difficult gospel and blues arrangements.

"She is really starting to develop her own voice," Janflone said. "We've talked a great deal about the difference between being influenced by someone and stealing their licks. She is really developing, and she's a hard worker."

There's little question that Lee is a hard worker and an emerging talent. When she isn't performing, she is co-founder of America's Music Center, a nonprofit center of music, technology and entrepreneurship.

"We want Pittsburgh to become the home for independent musicians," said Lee. "We want to be able to provide independent musicians with career support services."

While Lee would like to help emerging musicians, she's determined to build her own career. About three years ago she formed her own band and started working around town, performing at Dowe's on Ninth, Club Cafe, Legends James Street Tavern and other local venues.

After receiving encouragement from artists like Janflone, Etta Cox and pianist John D'Amico, who arranged the music to "Bluebird Fly," Lee decided it was time to record her debut.

During a trip to Nashville, she met producer and engineer Luke Wooten, who provided her with "Right Place Right Now" and "I Just Wanna Love Somebody," two original songs that work well in the context of the recording.

Through the melodic piano lines of D'Amico, she sings "Why Don't You Do Right" and "Get Here" with smoky and polished poignancy.

Lee's lyrical skill comes most convincingly into focus on "Weary Blues," a song associated with the Queen, the great Bessie Smith. Lee sings with style and flair -- she is really on to something. It will be interesting to chart her progress.

(Jazz writer Nate Guidry can be reached at or 412-263-3865.)

Harry Funk, Washington Observer Reporter

A bit of everything
A bit of everything

You've heard of the Renaissance man.

Well, forget the "man" part and meet Jessica Lee, who's been referred to as "attorney, financial analyst, business consultant and jazz singer." You certainly don't see that combination often.

Let's start with the jazz singer part of the equation. Jessica will unveil her first solo album, "Bluebird Fly," with a release party on Saturday at Dowe's on 9th in Pittsburgh,

Jazz and blues aficionados who know Jessica from her weekly Entrepreneurial Thursdays at Dowe's will welcome an opportunity to hear a CD's worth of her smooth, well-phrased vocals set against the backdrop of a crack band with crystal-clear production. And it's all done with local talent.

"We really wanted to do a Pittsburgh-based project," Jessica says, "because we have some great musicians in this area."

Several worked on this project, including versatile guitarist Danny Shields; John D'Amico, who did the arrangements along with playing keyboards (he also teaches jazz at Carnegie Mellon); drummer Andy Reamer; and Chris Hemingway, and young up-and-comer who played alto sax on the album's opener, a smoky reading of the Peggy Lee/Bennie Goodman classic "Why Don't You Do Right."

On bass for much of the album is Hollis Greathouse, who also co-produced along with Jessica and Hollis' partner at Audible Images Recording Studios, Jay Dudt. You may recognize Jay as a Grammy winner for his work with singer Nancy Wilson.

"I'm really, really happy about the project. It shows all the influences I've come from," Jessica says, agreeing that the album is an eclectic mix - jazz, blues, ballads and a bit of rock 'n' roll via relaxed covers of "Son of a Preacher Man," popularized by Dusty Springfield, and "My Baby Left Me," by way of Elvis. (Roy Ruzika, co-executive producer with his wife, Joan, plays some cool guitar on the latter.)

Nashville producer Luke Wooten helped in the selection of material and brought in an original, "Right Place Right Now," from Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Rory Bourke and partner Jon McElroy. Luke wanted Jessica to record the project down there in Tennessee, but she opted for the hometown approach.

"A lot of people advised me I'd have to move to Nashville or New York City," she says. "I don't think I have to."

A big reason is the other part of that "Renaissance woman" mix. Jessica is extremely well-versed in the business end of music and has some big visions that could help make Pittsburgh another one of those meccas for music.

Entrepreneurial Thursdays, launched four years ago, provide a taste of what she has in mind. The concept is to combine jazz shows featuring local artists with between-set sessions featuring Jessica talking with members of the business community; as she says, it's a case of "music promoting innovation."

She got the idea from a rumor that somewhere in Silicon Valley was "a club where more deals were done than in the board rooms." She never verified the story, but the concept intrigued her. So she talked about it with Pittsburgh jazz veteran Al Dowe and his wife, Etta Cox, as something for their fledgling club. And today, it's flourishing.

Along those lines is the concept for America's Music Center, which just might help provide an answer to the question: "Isn't there a way we can use music to attract and retain young people?"

In today's musical environment, "Everyone needs to become an entrepreneur, but there's no center in the country to help young musicians," Jessica says.

One goal of America's Arts Center is an "Artrepreneurship" division, a means to give independent musicians some background in business and promotion. In that regard, Jessica and others involved with "Bluebird Fly" plan to promote it nationally and use the experience as "lessons learned" for others who follow in her footsteps.

We'll keep an eye on how America's Arts Center develops through Jessica's business, financial and legal expertise. In the meantime, we'll be content to enjoy her talents as one fine singer.

Dan Eldridge, Music Editor, City Paper (Pittsburgh)

Lee's debut is no doubt destined to become a locally treasured classic
If you’re the entrepreneurial
type, you may know
local songstress Jessica Lee
as host of Entrepreneurial
Thursdays at Dowe’s on
Ninth, Downtown. But in
smoke-filled jazz clubs here
and across the country, Lee
is better known for her
soulful and skilled handling
of gospel, blues, jazz and soul
classics. Tonight she celebrates
the release of her debut CD, Bluebird Fly, with a
concert and party. With its
sultry and often stunning
selection of standards, original
numbers and classics,
Lee’s premiere is no doubt
destined to become a locally
treasured classic itself. DE
7:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 17.
Dowe’s on Ninth, 121 Ninth
St., Downtown. $10.

Jeff Rosenthal

I'm Keeping It In My CD Changer, Not On The Shelf
Bluebird Fly is a superb fusion of elements from Jessica’s spiritual, blues and jazz roots that have been freshly interpreted to appeal to the modern, smart listener. Jessica combines the extremes of this music into a melting pot, and with seeming ease – from the despair of the blues to its optimism, from the free forms of improvisational jazz accompaniment to skillful and precise vocal lines, and from the spirituals that started it all to originals suited for adult contemporary and jazz airplay. It is both sweet and salty in flavor, nothing forced nor too in-your-face. This CD should stay in the rotation in my changer for a long, long time.

Kenton Rexford

Excellent Jazz/Blues Covers
I thoroughly enjoy listening to Bluebird Fly. The instrumentals and vocals are great and the song selection is perfect for sitting back and relaxing.