Etta Jones – Always in Our Hearts

Etta Jones
Always in Our Hearts
(High Note Records – 2004)
by D. Kevin McNeir
There was Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and then … Etta Jones. And once you listen to “Always in Our Hearts: Etta Jones As We Loved Her,” you’ll know why she deserves to be included in this cadre of great jazz female vocalists.

All of the music was recorded from 1996 to 2002, the year when she succumbed to complications from cancer. Her last CD, “Etta Jones Sings Lady Day,” which would later be nominated for a Grammy, was released the day of her death.

Thankfully, we have her music and her sultry voice to enjoy forever. Houston Person, her musical partner, producer and often times accompanying tenor saxophone player, assembled the selections on this CD acknowledging that they were “her favorite tracks.”

It’s a great walk down jazz memory lane, from “All of Me,” “God Bless the Child,” “Mr. Bonjangles,” “For Sentimental Reasons,” “Fine and Mellow,” “I Should Care,” to the always moving Louis Armstrong classic “What A Wonderful World.”

Jones shows why she continues to be revered as an interpreter of standards, ballads and blues. And while she first began touring at the age of 16, before going on to record for Prestige and RCA, some of her finest work was rendered in the last two decades of her life.

Need a few moments to “pause for the cause,” or to “take a pill and chill?” Or perhaps you just want to go back in time when Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Earl Hines and Duke Ellington were all the rage.

Then cozy up with a glass of wine or sparkling cider and let Miss Jones entertain you. You won’t be disappointed.