Eva Cassidy & The London Symphony Orchestra to Release 'Autumn Leaves'
Eva Cassidy, the versatile, much-missed vocalist praised for her emotional range and interpretive skills, receives a unique reimagining as her poignant vocal performance of the classic song "Autumn Leaves" is paired with the backing of the London Symphony Orchestra. This inspired musical context was created by isolating Eva's 1996 live vocal performance recorded at the Blues Alley Jazz Club in Washington, DC and combining it with a new orchestral arrangement by the team of four-time Emmy Award winner William Ross and Grammy winner Jochem van der Saag.
The single will be released digitally on November 9 by Blix Street Records and will be available from iTunes, Spotify and other digital outlets.
Ross and van der Saag initially fell in love with Cassidy's music while working on a project with producer David Foster, which included one of Cassidy's classic recordings. That experience moved them to record demos, on spec, of their orchestral reimagining of three Eva Cassidy recordings. The demos were then presented by Foster to Blix Street Records.
Earlier this year, William Ross took the reins of London's oldest symphony orchestra, at London's historic Air Studios, to record three exquisite new Eva Cassidy and The London Symphony Orchestra recordings. The first to be released is "Autumn Leaves."
"I can't possibly find the words to adequately express my thoughts and feelings about Eva, one of the most unique, hypnotic and powerful singers of all time," Ross explains. "Her voice resonates through my whole being. I don't understand what she does to me...but I'm stunned by the experience. Those familiar with her have been changed forever. In Eva Cassidy with Orchestra, we present Eva in a 'different' musical context. We hope Eva's fans...both old and new...will appreciate this way of hearing her and be, once again, under the magical 'spell' of her transcendent artistry and eternal soul."
William Ross is a prolific award-winning composer and arranger whose work has spanned feature films, the recording industry and television. He has arranged music for artists such as Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Sting, Seal, Quincy Jones and Rod Stewart among many others and has served as Music Director and Conductor for Barbra Streisand's concert tours and for the Academy Awards telecasts.
Jochem van der Saag is a renowned producer, songwriter, arranger and engineer who has worked with wide range of artists, among them Barbra Streisand, Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Whitney Houston, Herb Alpert, Seal, Mary J Blige, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban and Celine Dion. Says van der Saag: "There is only one Eva Cassidy, and she is in a league of her own."
Since her passing the same year as the Blues Alley recordings were made, Eva Cassidy has had an unparalleled posthumous career, selling more than 10 million records worldwide and becoming one of only 11 female artists to ever achieve 10 or more UK Gold albums, three of which reached #1 on the UK charts. The small catalogue of material she left behind has been meticulously curated and released via 11 different albums, while her album SONGBIRD surpassed the one million sales mark in the U.S. and was certified Platinum. It was recently re-issued as SONGBIRD20 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its original release.
Eva Cassidy's catalogue of recordings began when she wandered into producer Chris Biondo's studio in Kensington, Maryland to sing on a band's demo to make extra money. Biondo, impressed with her talent, asked her to come back so he could record her as a soloist, eventually introducing her to Washington's "King of Go-Go" Chuck Brown with whom she would make an album.
Eva worked in a plant nursery by day to fulfill her desire to be close to nature and played in local clubs around her native Washington, DC by night, developing a loyal following for her intensely personal, highly eclectic musical style. Unable to secure a record deal she was happy with, Eva cashed in a small pension from her job to pay for the recording of her first album, LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY, in 1996. She was backed by her band - producer Chris Biondo on bass, pianist Lenny Williams, lead guitarist Keith Grimes and drummer Raice McLeod. Nobody could have imagined that the audio and video recordings captured that night would prove to be the foundation of Eva Cassidy's posthumous superstardom.
Every year brings countless new uses of her music in films, television and beyond--from USA Ladies Figure Skating Champion Michelle Kwan skating to Eva's Fields of Gold during the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City to the inclusion of her Songbird performance in the film Love Actually (2003) to a 2007 BBC poll ranking Eva Cassidy 21st on a list of "100 Voices of the 20th Century" to the 67th Annual Emmy Awards using her signature version of Over the Rainbow to underscore the 2015 award show's In Memoriam tribute honouring the passing of major television industry figures during the prior year to the continuing use of her arrangements and recordings on talent shows such as The X Factor, The Voice, American Idol, America's Got Talent and Dancing With The Stars.
In recent years, Eva Cassidy has become the standard for a younger generation of female singers. Her influence is documented in Eva Cassidy: Timeless Voice, a 2013 television program. Adele has been quoted as saying: "So I used to dress up like a Slipknot fan, and then after school I'd run home and listen to Eva Cassidy."