Rickie Lee Jones: Pieces of Treasure
28th April 2023
The mood is jazz. The icon is Rickie Lee Jones. The voice just keeps getting better. Rickie Lee Jones’ latest album Pieces of Treasure (BMG Modern) is a reunion with her lifelong friend, legendary producer Russ Titelman, who co-produced Jones’ star-making albums, her 1980 debut Rickie Lee Jones and the seminal Pirates. Available everywhere April 28, on vinyl or streaming, experience the sensual, elegant, groundbreaking spirit that is always Rickie Lee.
Great jazz never imitates what has already been done. Throughout her career, the Grammy-winning singer songwriter has interpreted an extraordinarily wide range of songs, often on the same album (David Bowie publicly praised her take on “Rebel Rebel”). She has recorded celebrated jazz-leaning albums including Girl at Her Volcano and Pop Pop, but until now, she had never devoted an entire album to the American Songbook.
“This album is as much about being human, the view of surviving—which means aging, and loving relentlessly— as it is about anything,” says Jones, now 68 with an acclaimed memoir, Last Chance Texaco. “We love ‘til the day we die, love our lives, our families, and finally ourselves.”
Recorded over five days at Sear Sound in New York City, backed by the quartet of Rob Mounsey on piano, guitarist Russell Malone, bassist David Wong and drummer Mark McLean, Pieces of Treasure— the title a callback to Pirates —is elegantly simple, a deeply emotive set pulled from Jones’ own life and experience. “This is an album Russ masterfully picked players who are exceptional musicians, who listen and respond,” says Jones. “And that’s partly why this sparse thing sounds so totally complete, because everyone responds to each other and builds this perfect room.”
Hear the first single and opening song “Just in Time” (written by Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green), featuring Mike Mainieri on vibraphone. “I am flirting with the microphone, sexy in a kind of “grown-ups in the 1960s” way, like Dean Martin might have been with his sweetheart,” says Jones. “I try to keep tape running every time I am behind the microphone, because you never know? I just slipped in there and started to sing. So, no one is thinking too much. And that’s the way to sneak up on a performance.”
On April 6, 7 and 8, Rickie Lee Jones will be playing special preview shows at Birdland in New York City, backed by Russell Malone, Rob Mounsey, Mark McClean and Paul Nowinski.
“This American Songbook recording shows Rickie's artistry in full bloom,” says Titelman. “Her voice has always sounded a bit younger than it ought to (that may be a function of her ability to inhabit the character who is singing the song so masterfully that you believe every word) but on this recording the aging voice sounds even better to me than the youthful one. There's a resonance and warmth in her lower register that wasn't there before. I adore the young Rickie Lee but I love even more the Old Dame.”
Pieces of Treasure
Just in Time (Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green)
There Will Never Be Another You (Harry Warren, Mack Gordon) Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez)
One for My Baby (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer)
They Can’t Take That Away from Me (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) All the Way (Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn)
Here’s That Rainy Day (Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke) September Song (Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson)
On the Sunny Side of the Street (Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields) It’s All in the Game (Charles G. Dawes, Carl Sigman)