Whitney Houston Smooth Jazz Tribute

Posted February 23rd, 2012 at 8:59 pm (UTC+0)
6 comments

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – I’d like to dedicate this blog post to the late pop super diva, Whitney Houston, who died February 11 at age 48.  You may not recall that she recorded some little-known jazz songs earlier in her career such as “I Look To You”, “Million Dollar Bill” and “Worth It”. The super diva’s great song, “I Have Nothing”, is  included on an album titled Ultimate Divas, a collection of 18 songs by the greatest female jazz, R&B, and pop vocalists of our time.  In addition to Whitney Houston, you’ll find songs by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan and others.

Houston was born August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. She seemed destined to become a singer. Her mother Cissy Houston is a legendary figure in American gospel and soul music. Here’s a video clip of Houston with her Mom Cissy:

Whitney Houston first skyrocketed to stardom in mid-1985 after the release of her self-titled album Whitney Houston.

A year later in 1986, Houston won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Saving All My Love for You”. The award was presented by her cousin – singer, actress and TV show host Dionne Warwick.

A makeshift memorial to Whitney Houston is seen in front of The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, (AP February 17, 2012)

A makeshift memorial to Whitney Houston is seen in front of The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, (AP February 17, 2012)

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Whitney Houston is the female artist with the most Grammy nominations in history. However, during her life Houston only won six Grammys.

1-     Saving All My Love for You 1986

2-     I Wanna Dance with Somebody – 1988 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

3-     I Will Always Love You – 1994 in the Record of the Year category for her record I Will Always Love You

4-     The Bodyguard – original soundtrack 1992 Album of the Year category for the original soundtrack

5-     I Will Always Love You part 2 – 1994 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

6-     It’s Not Right But It’s Okay – 2000 Best Female R&B Vocal Performance

In addition to the Grammys, Houston also won two Emmys, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards and a total of 415 career awards. She is considered to be one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide.

I first learned about Whitney Houston from my Egyptian TV colleague Hamdiya Hamdy who hosted an extremely popular music show called “Al-Alam Youghanni” Arabic for “The World Sings.” She was talking about Houston’s Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The CD remained at number 1 for 14 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. I was amazed when I heard the now-much-forgotten song “Hold Me” from that album. I heard it a few days after being introduced to the super diva’s music, while riding the renowned water taxi on Egypt’s Nile River.

In 1993, I briefly profiled Whitney Houston on VOA’s “Good Morning From America” Arabic show. My feature focused on how Houston defended the late pop superstar Michael Jackson, accusing the media of hypocrisy and racism. At the time, she also made headlines for her denials of media reports that she had been admitted to a hospital for treatment for addiction to diet pills.

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In 2009, the Smooth Jazz All Stars released an album paying tribute to Whitney Houston There’s not a lot of information available about this group, but I noticed that the All Starsrendition video clip of Houston’s I Will Always Love You on Youtube has spiked.  In just a few days after news of Houston’s death, it went from less than 100,000 views to more than 450,000. The singer-actress sang this song on the soundtrack of her 1992 hit movie, “The Bodyguard,” a romantic thriller co-starring Kevin Costner.

The Whitney Houston Smooth Jazz Tribute includes reimagined, soothing smooth jazz versions of 10 of her greatest hits.

Houston has other rare jazz recordings but unfortunately they are not available on an album. She recorded them before she became a pop star, when she was approached by Blue Note President Bruce Lundvall in the early 1980s.

Houston’s best selling albums include:

1. Saving All My Love for You

2. How Will I Know

3. Greatest Love of All

4. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)

5. Didn’t We Almost Have It All

6. So Emotional

7. Where Do Broken Hearts Go, which set several world records.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

6 Responses to “Whitney Houston Smooth Jazz Tribute”

  1. she was my favorate says:

    may her soul rest

  2. she was my favorate says:

    whitney may your soul REST in PEACE

  3. lena says:

    Hi,
    i liked whitney, from begin because she born my feelings from during hers the films and hers life how was difficult live with hers husband, and i liked hers voice, and all the songs.
    i’m very really sad that she died, whitney in my heart all my life . i can’t forget you .

  4. ROGER says:

    PERDIMOS NO SÓLO UNA GRAN VOZ , TAMBIEN SE HA SEPARADO DE NOSOTROS LA GRAN LUZ, SENTIMIENTO VIBRACIÓN DE LUZ E INIGUALABLE ARCOIRIS DE SENTIMIENTOS DE WHITNEY.
    GRACIAS POR COMPARTIRNOS ÉL PREWSENTE TRIBUTO.
    ROGER

    Trnaslation:
    We lost not only a great voice but also a great light and vibration of light without comparison. Thank you for this tribute.

  5. My own The best Professional For Every Time.He is true superstar.I Watches practically all films with Kevin.

  6. Hugh Oczon says:

    As big a hit mainly because it was — and it was a multi-platinum blockbuster, spinning off several chart-toppers — it’s quite difficult to think of Whitney Houston’s 1985 introduction as the dawning of a new trend, yet it was. Showing up in the thick of MTV, when the clever sounds of yacht-soul were fading, Whitney Houston stands out as the foundation of diva-pop, straddling clean, cheery R&B and big ballads developed with the adult modern audience in mind. Houston’s backdrop lay in the former — actually, it was even more risky, encompassing a stint with the new Bill Laswell outfit Material — and her benefactor Clive Davis knew information on selling records to the masses

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VOA’s music bloggers bring you info about all kinds of music. Katherine Cole will keep you up-to-date on the world of Bluegrass and Americana music while Ray McDonald rocks the Pop charts and artists. Diaa Bekheet  jams with you on Jazz.  Visit us often. Your comments are welcome.

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