Sweet Baby J'ai | The Art Of Blue

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United States - California - LA

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Blues: Jazzy Blues Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Type: Vocal
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The Art Of Blue

by Sweet Baby J'ai

"Sweet Baby J'ai's mixture of musical styles was mesmerizing...there's no doubt the `being real' is what makes this unique performer one of a kind." -- Blues and Soul Msgazine
Genre: Blues: Jazzy Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. There Was A Time
4:54 $0.99
2. Soldiers Of Love
4:16 $0.99
3. Carmen's Blues
4:26 $0.99
4. Left Alone
5:47 $0.99
5. Stop The Word (Everyday I Have The Blues)
5:31 $0.99
6. Neighbor, Neighbor
4:09 $0.99
7. Hop On The Pony
2:57 $0.99
8. Willow Weep For Me
4:59 $0.99
9. I Don't Want The Neighbors To Know
6:35 $0.99
10. Louisiana Stomp
5:44 $0.99
11. Don't Touch Me
4:35 $0.99
12. The Art Of Blue
5:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Los Angeles Times
"....swinging...powerful...and haunting."

New Times
"...her voice is part cream, part honey and all soul..."

Jazz Now

Product Description
Featuring some of the finest musicians on the scene today, with a special guest performance by renowned trumpeter, Oscar Brashear, her debut release, The Art Of Blue is a wonderful collection of jazz, blues and spoken word. Composer/producer Sweet Baby J'ai, serves up a multi-hued palette of songs that highlight her warm, velvety tones; sometimes fun and often thought-provoking lyrics. According to Scott Yanow, Editor of the All Music Guide to Jazz, "Every selection on the set is memorable in its own way and several have the potential of becoming future standards." Oscar Brashear - trumpet Nate Morgan - piano Bill Cunliffe - piano Wayne Peet - piano Trey Henry - bass Nedra Wheeler - bass Reggie Hamilton - bass Greg Brown - drums Jerry Brown - drums Mike O'Neill - guitar Louis Taylor, Jr. saxophone Ann King - trumpet

About the Artist
Sweet Baby J'ai got her start under the guidance of mentor, the legendary Phil Moore. Shortly thereafter she could be found performing in jazz clubs in Paris. Back home in the U.S., she benefited early on in her career from the support and direction of working with legends, saxophonist Teddy Edwards and guitarist Phil Upchurch.
Sweet Baby J'ai is a critically acclaimed vocalist and songwriter who has toured the world with her distinctive sound. She and her band have also performed extensively in the U.S. and have been featured at numerous festivals, clubs and benefits. She has shared the stage with such luminaries as The Jazz Crusaders, Etta James, Joe Sample, Koko Taylor, Frank Capp & The Juggernaut, Sheila E., Stanley Turrentine, Patrice Rushen, Red Holloway and the late Eddie Harris, to name a few. She has been heard on radio and television both nationally and internationally. With her deep, powerful, sometimes playful and sensuous voice, and her acclaimed songwriting style, Sweet Baby J'ai is provocative and impassioned, combining her infectious personality and original style with the influences of Carmen McRae and Joe Williams. Some critics describe her as a "jazz singer", others as a "blues singer", but all agree that this versatile singer-songwriter is a "storyteller".

Sweet Baby J'ai grew up in a city rich with musical history, Kansas City, home to legends like Big Joe Turner and Charlie "Bird" Parker among others. At only five years old, she was already writing songs and by the age of eight, sneaking in the backdoors of clubs on 18th & Vine to watch her father play with top jazz musicians. Her uncle, Vernon Gower, played bass with Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton and her cousin, Michael Howell, played guitar with Dizzie Gillespie. Her style is rooted in the Kansas City sound. Sweet Baby J'ai is a versatile performer and an unconventional musician. She takes the washboard, an instrument usually reserved for Cajun or jug band music and puts a jazz spin on it, claiming it as her own "Jazzboard" sound. Whether singing a swinging version of a standard, a soulful blues ballad or a haunting original, she weaves her special magic through songs seemingly taylor-made for her intimate style.

Baby J'ai demonstates many talents on her releases. Both, The Art of Blue and her latest release, Evolution find her wearing multiple hats including producer, composer and arranger. She serves up a multi-hued palette of songs that highlight her warm velvety tones, sometimes fun and often thought-provoking lyrics. She swings, whispers, shouts and caresses every song like telling a personal story. Her CD's are a complication of original compositions, fresh approaches to jazz classics, and obscure covers. Call her a renaissance woman-she's also a playwright, having co-written the acclaimed play, "3 Women: A Dramatic Tribute to The Divas of Jazz & Blues", as well as being an actress, novelist and artist. Sweet Baby J'ai is one of the brightest rising stars in jazz.



to write a review

Anna Fisher

Sweet Baby J'ai is a phenomena!
Sweet Baby runs the full gamut on this album of the magical sensitivities her artistry possesses. Yesssss, you must run to get this one before you must await a next pressing. Sweet Baby J'ai is a best kept secret, her lusciously rich and delicious vocalizations penetrate this entire album which is sure to make your top shelf.
Having performed numerous times with her I can tell you this soulful sister is GENUINE! Nothing but love and heart through and through and appropriate for all audiences. Hey, I didn't even mention the living legends who backed her on this one. You will LOVE it! Guaranteed! Anna 'Oboelady' Fisher

Steve Fullwood

"gumbo" probably would have been a more appropriate album title, because all the
What do you do with a sister who possesses a voice of honey, an ear for the blues and jazz, and can play a washboard like nobody's business? You drop everything and run out to purchase her music, of course! (Wait. Finish this review first!)

I'm referring to the one and only Sweet Baby J'ai, and the CD is The Art of Blue. Now run out and get it! (Need to know more? Read on.)

The Art of Blue is exquisite, and by using such an overused word, I am bound to explain. Exquisite in that traditional blues and jazz seamlessly blend into a sound uniquely J'ai's. On the sublime, "I Don't Want the Neighbors to Know" she carefully drips her voice onto the sparse, silky muscular arrangements, and your ears eagerly lick it up. If that wasn't enough, she has the nerve to follow it up with "Louisiana Stomp," a down home romp through Cajun country that'll leave you longing for a nice bowl of gumbo!

In fact, "gumbo" probably would have been a more appropriate album title, because all the songs make for one mesmerizing treat. She honors the legendary Carmen McCrae on "Carmen's Blues," explaining that it was McRae who taught her the value of precise pronunciation. Other notable cuts, many of them J'ai originals, include the charming "There Was a Time," the heartfelt "Soldiers of Love," and the raunchy "Hop on the Pony."

End of story, now go, get outta here and buy it!

Elisa Kermody

Yes, Sweet Baby J’ai plays the washboard,and occasionally the spoons. But this ain’t no backyard hoedown. With an amazing voice—fresh and classic—this woman could be a diva. She performs with known jazz talents, including pianist NateMorgan, bassist Nedra Wheeler, drummer Fritz Wise and saxophonist Louis Taylor Jr. She writes many of the songs she performs, a talent she’s honed since writing her first blues song at 5. On her new album, The Art of Blue, she also acts as producer, composer and arranger. And she turns the washboard into a “jazzboard,” adding rhythmic accents and even solos using spoons, sticks and brushes, depending on the mood of the song.

Beyond entertaining, Sweet baby J’ai also informs, giving lessons in musical geography and history, as she takes you from LA to Kansas City to Texas to Louisiana, and tips her hat to jazz legends like Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and Carmen McRae (“Carmen’s Blues”) sounds like a familiar jazz stand while at the same time contemporary). Sweet Baby J’ai grooves, and her infectious personality and realness come through as she shares her love of jazz and blues in all its forms: “It’s all good; it’s the art of blue.

--OC Weekly