Blue Note in New York City's Greenwich Village is considered one of the world's most famous jazz venues. And it was here where Chrisette Michele, one of R&B's brightest and most captivating stars, paid homage to three jazz icons who have been some of the biggest influences of her career, namely Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, during a three-night stand last week.
During her Tuesday, March 22nd show, Chrisette stated: "[Music] is not about ego. This is about what I can bring to the world. My life is for the people. I live to give. It's my desire to bring life and freedom light and love everywhere I go. Upward mobility in the brown skinned community." And it was with that mentality that she stepped onto the Blue Note stage.
With the accompaniment of a five-piece band reminiscent of the era, she sang, she scatted, she let us all in. We've come to know her as contemporary R&B singer, but on this night she sang the jazz standards closest to her heart that also resonated with the audience, like Billy Strayhorn's "Take The A Train" and George Gershwin's "Summertime" (incidentally, a song that was covered by all three divas of the day). From the highest soprano to lowest contralto, every treble, riff, and refrain was an act of pure genius. I'm sure that with every note she sang in their praises, the Grand Dames of Bebop/Swing were beaming with pride and nodding their heads in approval. It is evident as she stated in the wake of grand accolades and a standing ovation that jazz, does in fact live. "I pray with every song I sing, I'm singing from the bottom of my heart. This isn't a competition. This is a stage for self-expression, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to live on it. I'd sing even if nobody sang along." And we are grateful for Chrisette Michele.