Ren_e Fleming to Release Jazz Album in May

Classic Arts News   Ren_e Fleming to Release Jazz Album in May
Soprano Ren_e Fleming is at work on an album of jazz ballads featuring pianist Fred Hersch and guitarist Bill Frisell, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The album, tentatively titled Haunted Heart, will be released by Decca in May.

Among the songs likely to be on the CD is Arthur Schwartz's "Haunted Heart," Joni Mitchell's "River," and a song by Mahler, transcribed for guitar by Frisell.

Fleming, one of the leading stars of the opera stage, is not a jazz neophyte. While studying at the State University of New York at Potsdam, she sang in a jazz trio; in fact, during that period, saxophonist Illinois Jacquet heard her sing and asked her to join his big band. She declined, choosing to pursue her operatic studies. (The two did finally perform together in December 2003, months before Jacquet's death, on WNYC radio in New York.)

Fans of Fleming's operatic recordings may be surprised when they hear the new album, she told the Monitor.

"I sing it an octave lower than I ever sing, as if I'm whispering in somebody's ear," she said. "A few people I've played it for had no idea it's me."

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