Live: Kathleen Battle Does It Her Way at the Blue Note

Kathleen Battle and Cyrus Chestnut
The Blue Note
Tuesday, June 19

Better than: Never getting to see this lyric soprano perform live.

In 2010, Kathleen Battle chose a pianist and a repertoire of classical material to bring to Carnegie Hall for a formal recital. This summer, Battle decided to give the European composers a rest and instead brought a top jazz pianist to a small Manhattan supper club to help salute the roots of American popular music. Never let it be said that Battle doesn’t keep one foot firmly in two worlds: she can hold the high notes of any spiritual as if it were an aria, and bend the phrasing of a Mozart lieder as if it were a Shirley Caesar hit. But she’s also taken criticism from purists over the years for her willingness to collaborate across genres and performance styles. (One can only imagine what her critics thought in 2008 of seeing Battle on the American Music Awards performing “Superwoman” with Queen Latifah and Alicia Keys.) But if her two shows this week at The Blue Note prove anything, it’s that La Battle does what she wants, when she wants to do it, and Devil take the naysayers. Continue reading “Live: Kathleen Battle Does It Her Way at the Blue Note”