Six-time GRAMMY® Award-nominee Nnenna Freelon has earned a well-deserved reputation as a compelling and captivating live performer, most receontly in 2007 on In Performance At The White House to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. At the 43rd annual GRAMMY Awards telecast from Los Angeles, she inspired an enthusiastic standing ovation from 20,000 music-industry insiders and celebrities when she took to the stage. Prior to that stirring appearance, Freelon’s performances for the legendary Julie Andrews at the Society of Singers’ “Ella Awards,” Variety’s The Children’s Charity (as a featured vocalist at the Stephen Sondheim Tribute at Carnegie Hall), Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon and at the most famous jazz festivals around the globe have all been rousing successes. No wonder--for anyone who has heard and seen Freelon sing knows she is a skillful interpreter of even the most familiar chestnuts.
On her Grammy-nominated (for Best Jazz Vocal Performance) release, Blueprint Of A Lady: Sketches of Billie Holiday, Freelon pays tribute to the quintessential jazz vocalist Billie Holiday. As inventive as ever, Freelon turns these Holiday-associated songs and fulfills Billie Holiday’s message to all artists: “No two people on earth are alike, and it’s got to be that way with music or it isn’t music.” With her own band, and with Ronald K. brown & EVIDENCE, Freelon and Brown turn this inot a multi-media music and dance offering unlike any show previously seen! Freelon is a winner of both the Billie Holiday Award from the prestigious Academie du Jazz and this tribute brings her to a heartfelt source of inspiration for her artistry and dedication to the music and the power it possesses in education and art.
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Freelon had no problem charming the audience with a bright, rhythmically infectious performance. --Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
Freelon makes each song such a personal statement that they all seem fresh and new... --Steve Jones, USA Today
Nnenna Freelon possesses that rarest of qualities... she makes (standards) sound freshly minted, refreshingly new... her phrasing is original, surprising... she mines the (melodies) for new and hidden meaning... and imaginative spirit that reaches out and bubbles over...
--Robert L. Daniels, Variety
...there is no doubt that Freelon has now positioned herself in the very top echelon... --Don Heckman,Los Angeles Times