Personnel: Etta James (vocals); Josh Sklair (acoustic & electric guitar); Bobby Murray (guitar); Red Holloway, Jimmy Z (tenor saxophone); Lee Thornburg (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone); Tom Poole (trumpet, flugelhorn); Pete Escovedo (horns, congas, percussion); Dave Matthews (acoustic & electric pianos); Mike Finegan (Hammond B-3 organ); Sametto James (bass, drum programming); Donto James (drums, drum programming).
Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California on March 15-23, 1999. Includes liner notes by Etta James.
HEART OF A WOMAN was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
Heart of a Woman is a great idea for an album. Etta James chose 11 love songs from her favorite female singers -- Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, and Carmen McRae -- augmenting the album with a new version of her signature song, "At Last." She has recorded several of these songs before (including Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed," which inexplicably became a standard for both her and McRae), but the difference with Heart of a Woman is the context. Here, they're put in a smooth jazz setting, masterminded by James, who has producer credit. There's no denying that Etta James is a powerhouse, one of the finest blues singers of the 20th century, and she still possesses an exceptionally strong voice, robust and filled with passion. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine