Mystery Lady (1994) Recording an album that primarily features songs Billie Holiday originated — as former rhythm & blues star Etta James has done here — takes guts… Etta James Jazz
Music Review

Mystery Lady (1994)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Lead Performance: Etta James; Genre: Jazz

Recording an album that primarily features songs Billie Holiday originated — as former rhythm & blues star Etta James has done here — takes guts because no one can match Holiday's depth of feeling and sense of style. But the 56-year-old James establishes a far more credible claim to such material than others, such as Diana Ross, have in recent years. Like Holiday, James suffered from an addiction to heroin, and she seems to have a quiet understanding of what Lady Day experienced. Mystery Lady is by far the subtlest record James has ever made. B+

Originally posted Mar 11, 1994 Published in issue #213 Mar 11, 1994 Order article reprints