Natalie Cole, 1950 – 2015

RIP Princess Cole… Coming on the heels of Aretha Franklin’s reminder of the enduring miraculous power of the black female Soul Divas at the 2015 Kennedy Centre Honours this week Natalie Cole’s passing at ‘only 65’ is tragic. At the risk of sacrilege I have to say I heard Natalie perform twice and I was overwhelmed. I shockingly found her to be a superior craftsman than all the senior Divas who were her mentors in form- Aretha, Patti, Chaka, and others. I was astounded that I had never heard anyone speak of her talent in those terms- in recognition of her magnitude. She had the range of Patti La Belle, the scream of a Chaka, the soul and blues of Aretha- but she also had Jazz sophistication. I was awestruck. There seemed to be nothing that she could not do with her voice- and she had the musical intelligence to take a song where it wanted to go. ALL the way. One performance in particular was like listening to vocal infinity!… It’s not an argument I’m willing to pursue further without proper investigation but her 2 performances still remain for me the optimum manifestation of the Blues/Soul/Jazz tradition that I have ever heard in live performance. They were a blessing to witness. A triumph given the demons she fought in her life. May she Rest in Peace.

Posted on January 1, 2016, in President's Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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