According to singer-songwriter Julia Fordham, Ella Fitzgerald set the standard when it comes to tackling standards so she had to turn to other source material for her forthcoming collection, “The Language of Love,” which will receive its U.S. and European release on April 14 from Red River Entertainment with distribution via BFD/Sony RED.
“As the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, has already covered every traditional jazz song to perfection, we tried to find a new angle and hopefully put a fresh twist on some of our favorite songs,” the British-born, Los Angeles-based artist said.
Along with producer-arranger Grant Mitchell, Fordham culled a set list of modern pop, rock and R&B classics and revamped them as if they were pages from the Great American Songbook. The misty-voiced singer seductively emotes nine signature hits from the likes of Blondie, Eurythmics, Sting, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder in intimate acoustic jazz settings. She also reconfigured her own debut hit, “Happy Ever After,” and introduces a pair of new tunes - “Like You Used To Do” and “The Morning After (The Night With You)” - that she penned for the occasion with Mitchell.
Throughout “The Language of Love,” Fordham regally plies her deep-hued vocals on tracks that swing (“Call Me” and “Alone Again (Naturally)”), seduce through sultry bossa nova grooves (“Who’s That Girl” and “At Seventeen”), traverse a multicultural world music grid (“Happy Ever After”) and pitter-patter gracefully to a Latin jazz rhythm embellished by a sterling nylon guitar serenade by Ramon Stagnaro (“Fragile”). “I’m Not In Love” becomes a stunning torch song while a stark depiction of “Eleanor Rigby” strikes a hauntingly dramatic tone in a voice, piano and upright bass incarnation. “Sir Duke” bops to a groovy jazz beat highlighted by Wonder’s original “Songs in the Key of Life” tour trumpeter, Harry Kim. The lone tune taken from the Great America Songbook era is “Moon River,” a timeless, heart-tugging beauty written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. As for the new originals, “Like You Used To Do” is a steamy affair heated by soulful backing vocals from Judith Owen and Sista Jean McClain. A taut rhythm section comprised of David Piltch (upright bass), Herman Matthews (drums) and Ramon Yslas (percussion) construct a subtle Latin vibe on “The Morning After (The Night With You).”
Two bonus tracks, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “Moon River” orchestrated with strings, will be available exclusively with the digital purchase of the album. Videos for “Call Me,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “At Seventeen” were created and will soon be made available for viewing. Fordham will support “The Language of Love” with concert dates in London on July 28 & 29 at The Strand at PizzaExpress Live, October 18 in Los Angeles at Catalina Jazz Club and October 27 & 28 in New York City at Joe’s Pub.
Fordham said she selected “The Language of Love” as the album title because “it seemed to conjure up a romantic image and the seductive feeling of the album.” The words are the opening lyrics of “Who’s That Girl” and are mentioned in the bridge section of “Call Me.”
Although she grew up writing and singing folk music in clubs since she was 14 in Portsmouth, England, Fordham discovered jazz shortly thereafter and has always incorporated nuances of jazz throughout her recording career that began with her eponymously-titled 1988 release. Her global hit “Love Moves” was featured in 1992’s “The Butcher’s Wife” starring Demi Moore. After relocating to Los Angeles two years later, three of Fordham’s albums were produced by four-time Grammy winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Madeleine Peyroux). Her 2005 live CD (“That’s Life”) and DVD (“That’s Live”) featured a stellar ensemble including Klein on bass and Academy Award-winning trumpeter/composer Mark Isham, and showcased Fordham dueting with multiple Grammy winner India.Aire. For additional information, please visit www.JuliaFordham.com.