Seattle has long been known as the hometown of jazz pioneers from the Jackson Street era, with Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Ernestine Anderson all getting their start in the district decades ago. The Blues Chanteuse aka Nora Michaels also got her start in the emerald city and has been singing ballads and torch songs in nightclubs for over fifty years. To celebrate her 71st birthday, Michaels is releasing her latest EP, Blue Lullaby, in December of 2018. The seven new tracks feature her Blues Chanteuse Band and special guests on a collection of classic jazz lounge styled originals.
The set opens with the title track “Blue Lullaby,” a glorious jazz ballad that evokes the great ladies of song, written by Portland’s Chris Carlson, long time partner of blues Legend Duffy Bishop, and features the fine saxophone of Ron Baker. Award-winning northwest songwriter Michele D’Amour lent Michaels one her songs, the slow burning jazzy blues lament “Worthy.” Croatian-born classically trained folk and blues musician, Radoslav Lorković delivers tasty accordion to the cabaret rhumba “Waiting On Love,” while Michaels pays tribute to French icon Édith Piaf on the tune penned by Duffy Bishop. The smooth walking bass of David Salonen holds all the pieces of the swinging “Rest Assured,” together in a tight package. Sam Weis add Spanish guitar to the mix on the gentle tango “It’s Not Over,” as Michaels pleads with her lover on the dynamic track. The sentimental sway of “Turn the Lights Down Low,” has a Phil Spector ‘Wall of Sound,’ 60s girl group vibe. Album closer “No More Pain,” is a slice from the Nancy Sinatra playbook of saucy ladies rat pack jazz sizzle and snap.