Queen Latifah: I Love Being Here With You


I Love Being Here With You


Queen Latifah (vocals)


Trav'lin' Light (Verve B0009203-02)

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Queen Latifah (vocals),

orchestra conducted by John Clayton


Composed by Peggy Lee & William Schluger. Arranged by John Clayton


Recorded: Hollywood, CA, date unknown


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Dana Owens re-created herself first as the rap artist Queen Latifah, then again as a movie actress, which in turn led to her becoming a versatile soul, R&B, and jazz singer. Hearing her unannounced for the first time on jazz radio, your reaction would likely be, "Who is that? She sounds good." While not yet exhibiting the nuances and subtleties of a polished jazz singer on tracks such as "I Love Being Here With You," the potential is certainly there if she chose to focus on jazz exclusively, albeit an unlikely scenario. Then again, Diana Krall early in her career could not have sung this same song as brilliantly as she did years later on her Live in Paris CD.

John Clayton's arrangement is big, brassy and swinging. Queen Latifah's relaxed spoken and chatty intro leads to her singing of the lyric in a style very similar to Peggy Lee's. However, she comes off a little stiff and not totally at ease rhythmically. She also does not project much emotion or sexiness. In sum, Queen Latifah is playing at being a jazz vocalist, as it's not yet coming naturally. At this point, soul and R&B are more her thing.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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