Nnenna Freelon (with Take 6): Straighten Up And Fly Right
Straighten Up And Fly Right
Nnenna Freelon (vocals)
Soulcall (Concord Jazz 4896)
Nnenna Freelon (vocals),
Take 6: Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Joel Kibble, Mark Kibble, Claude McKnight, David Thomas (vocals)..
Composed by Nat King Cole.
Recorded: New York, April 20, 2000—April 23, 2000
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Nnenna Freelon came to jazz singing after raising three children and working as a health care administrator. She was branded a Sarah Vaughan imitator when her first album came out in 1992, but her style evolved rapidly and her recordings over the last 10 years show her as a singer with a style all her own. “Straighten Up & Fly Right” is an apt song for a collaboration between Freelon and the gospel/jazz vocal ensemble Take 6. Nat King Cole based the lyrics on a sermon his father used to deliver. Both Freelon and the members of Take 6 are deeply religious, and so for them, the song implies more than just a story about a monkey and a buzzard. There are no instruments on this recording, but Take 6 sounds like a swinging big band with its wide range of voices and powerful riffs. Freelon sings the melody with a crystal clear sound to which she adds a little growl when hits the word “lie.” Freelon contributes a brief scat solo as Take 6 imitates trombones over the sung bass line. The ending is delightful, as Freelon slowly slides up to the top of the final chord, and then sings a final fall with the other voices.
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe