Throughout her four-decade career, music superstar Annie Lennox has defied categorization, diving into blues, soul, folk and pop to create songs that captivate and transcend boundaries.
In her latest album Nostalgia, Lennox has revealed yet another dimension to her formidable talent. Although jazz is not the genre for which she is best known, she could no longer resist the magnetic pull of some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook. Nostalgia, the singer’s seventh solo album, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
And with the Great Performances special, Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert, the singer’s unique interpretations bring a new intimacy to these timeless classics. The special airs Friday April 3, 2015 at 10 p.m. on PBS.
In the 60-minute concert – which was taped at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in January – Lennox performs songs from the Nostalgia album like “Summertime,” “Strange Fruit,” “I Cover the Waterfront” and “God Bless the Child.”
The special features Lennox’s fresh takes on iconic American compositions by such artists as Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, as she pays tribute to some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, interpreting compositions that have moved her, stripping them down to their emotional and musical core and making them her own, demonstrating how these songs continue to resonate even amid the complexities of modern life.
On the album, Lennox approached each song as if she had never heard it before, boiling each down to its bare essence. Working together with co-producer Mike Stevens, Lennox started with keyboards and added instrumentation sparingly such as the lacerating guitar solo in the middle of “Screaming” Jay Hawkins’ torrid “I Put a Spell on You.” The orchestrations are used on the special.
Complete song listing:
Memphis in June
Georgia on My Mind
I Put a Spell on You
I Cover the Waterfront
God Bless the Child
September in the Rain
The Nearness of You
Here Comes the Rain Again