Two Novels

February 22,2005

Chaka Khan…Chaka Khan…Chaka Khan…Chaka Kahn!

January 24,2005

Postscript to Dylan Documentary

January 21,2005


January 11,2005

Postscript to Rose and the Monkey Spider

January 07,2005

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Chaka Khan…Chaka Khan…Chaka Khan…Chaka Kahn!

January 24,2005

I admire artists who take a leap in the dark. They forgo a guaranteed formula that would keep them materially comfortable for the rest of their days and head down the road less traveled. Their fans often feel betrayed and even personally affronted at their artist following the beat of a different drum. Bob Dylan was booed off the stage when he first played electric guitar before folk music devotees. Defying the skeptics, Ray Charles left Atlantic Records to explore country music, jazz, and orchestral arrangements. And Eric Clapton dumped his rock career to reemerge as a greatly respected white bluesman. One could easily point the finger at Mick Jagger as the singer who could have, but didn’t, take the leap and bravely, but at times pathetically, soldiers on with the Stones as a kind of musical Barnum’s circus.

Chaka Khan, born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953, is usually associated with funk music in the 70s (fronting for the band Rufus) and her first solo hit Climb Every Mountain. She started experimenting with jazz music in the early 1980s and in 1990 had another hit duet with Ray Charles (I’ll Be Good To You).

With her latest album (Classickhan, Earthsong Records, 2004) she has made the full conversion to jazz vocalist, backed this time by The London Symphony Orchestra. The voice is deep, controlled and profoundly erotic. And she is obviously challenging herself with the song selection (Chaka Khan singing To Sir With Love?). If you like singers such as Dianne Reeve and Diane Schuur, it’s a definite BUY.

Bons mots et mauvais mots by the famous and not so famous

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