Music can be a form of perfection - with nothing added or subtracted, flawless just the way it is.

Roberta Flack

5. January 2013 Jazz, Roberta, Flack, Soul, Women

Ugh, I haven’t posted in almost two weeks now, it’s almost like I slept through the holidays. Anyway I’m back now, so let’s get right to it.

Roberta Flack, there’s an amazing singer! I’m not sure why I haven’t written about her in my women in jazz series, but I’m making up for it now. I was introduced to her music by a good friend last year and I’m still grateful.
Roberta Flack is a singer and a songwriter, born in 1939 and most notably known for her hits in the 70’s. If you’ve never heard of her, you probably know her by her famous “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, which won her a Grammy in 1974. Another quite renowned song she recorded is “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”.
I don’t care too much for either of these songs and I’m not sure why. I guess they just don’t move me. But I do love and respect Roberta and the reason for that is her first three albums - First Take, Chapter Two and Quiet Fire . They’re soft, sophisticated and soulful. In life in general, I appreciate things that slowly build up to their peak, may that be in music, movies, books, shows or food. I feel that if something builds up to its full intensity gradually, it’s much more powerful than it would be, if it was as forceful from the very beginning. And I’m saying this, because I think songs in these albums provide just that - a wonderful slow build-up. That, of course, doesn’t mean there’s not much happening, it means they’re really powerful and strong.
Her music on these albums is like the ocean waves hitting the shore - at first glance it seems slow, quiet and serene but in reality it has so much power and energy.
These three albums are amazing and I highly recommend them. Here are two songs to get a feeling of what kind of music to expect.

Roberta is still creating new music. Just last year she recorded an album Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles . I really like The Beatles and I used to be obsessed with them so when I saw that she made an album full of their songs I was excited. As soon as I started listening to the album, the excitement was replaced with disappointment. With the exception of one song, it’s an awful album (at least to my ears anyway). You know, how sometimes older people try to sound young and hip but they end up just sounding awkward? Well that’s how I feel about this album. It sounds like she did some stuff on it just because “it’s what young people listen to these days”, instead of doing her own thing. For the better part of the album I was shaking my head, and asking myself “why?”. As much as I enjoy Roberta’s early music, this is one album I probably won’t listen to again.

What do you think? Do you have a Roberta Flack favourite? As always, I really appreciate any kind of comments.

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