Here's something for Diana Ross fans to get jazzed about.
Three decades after she earned an Oscar nomination channeling Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues, the Supreme diva is preparing to issue an extremely rare, previously unreleased collection of jazz standards she recorded at the time and has since been sitting in a Motown vault gathering dust.
Titled Blue, the record was initially supposed to accompany the release of the 1972 soundtrack to Lady Sings the Blues.
But, to paraphrase the song, where did her jazz go?
Despite that film's success, Ross shelved the album to refocus on pop songs with Touch Me in the Morning, which eventually hit number one on the Billboard charts in 1973. The Blue sessions were relegated to the archives and subsequently forgotten about until the label recently rediscovered the masters.
News of the find comes just four months after Paramount issued Lady Sings the Blues on DVD.
The dozen hitherto lost covers were recorded in late 1971 and 1972 and include Ross' renditions of the Gershwins' "I Loves Ya Porgy," Cole Porter's "Let's Do It," Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen's "But Beautiful," as well as "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes," "No More," "Can't Get Started with You," and "Had You Been Around" (the lone Motown original that was performed by Michelle Allar in Lady Sings the Blues).
Produced and arranged by the entertainer's longtime collaborator Gil Askey, Blue also features four bonus cuts: "Easy Living," "He's Funny That Way" and her take on the Duke Ellington classic "Solitude."
Several tracks that were included on the Lady Sings the Blues soundtrack--"You've Changed," "My Man (Mon Homme)," the Gershwins' "Love Is Here To Stay" and "T'Ain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do"--appear in alternate form on Blue. Likewise, Blue features different takes of Rodgers & Hart's "Little Girl Blue" and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" from the tracks that appeared on Touch Me in the Morning and Ross' 1976 self-titled release.
In his liner notes, author David Ritz calles the Blue songs "some of the most emotionally satisfying music Ross has ever made."
Due out June 20, Blue will be Ross' first album since 1999's Every Day Is a New Day. Meanwhile, the flamboyant performer, who turns 62 on Sunday, has reportedly been working on a new studio album, including a duet with Rod Stewart, for release in the fall.