Originating in the ‘other’ L.A. lower Alabama, life took Lil to San Francisco, where she met Duke Ellington during one of her performances at the Purple Onion, where he just happened to show up after one of his own gigs in the Bay Area. A week later, Duke was on the phone in New York, requesting Lil’s presence for a meeting. Surprised when she showed up for the meeting, Lil realized Ellington had his friend, Billy Strayhorn, waiting for her, as well. They enjoyed the song she had written, "Walkin’ and Singin’ the Blues," so they added more lyrics and words.
It was meant to be. The next day, the three song masters did a recording in just one take. Ellington nicknamed her "One Take Lil." This began a three decade career for Lil, taking her through Asia, Europe, Australia and many American cities. Now, home in Alabama, Lil Greenwood is still wowing the crowds with her strong vocals, her electric personality and her desire to share the blessings she’s received.
Described by the Boston Globe as "The renaissance man of American music," David Amram is known as one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation, since his initial appointment as composer-in-residence, with the New York Philharmonic in 1966-1967. Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber works and scored several music for several movies, including Splendor In The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate.
Amran has also collaborated with Dustin Hoffman, Thelonious Monk and Willie Nelson, Arthur Miller and many, many more artists during his many performances around the world.
Serving as co-producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist for Back To My Roots, Amram creates a spontaneous scat as tribute to Lil and the city of Mobile.
Opening with "I Cry as Children Do" greenwoods strong, voice carries the message of pain when love is lost just as a child feels the pain of growing up. Soft and gentle accompaniment by percussion keeps the tempo somber. "Hello Little Boy," written by Ellington and Greenwood, brings the tempo to a spirited pitch as Greenwood offers an audacious, bluesy exchange with organ and drums.
Slowing down with a piano lead, "You’ve Changed" gives a blues feeling deep in the soul. Greenwood’s clear vocal style lets the audience hear and emote along with the singer. Gentle piano chords along with soft guitar help each word roll gently off Greenwood’s lips. Back to a more lively tempo, "Keep a Light Showering Down" sounds straight from the Delta country songs people sing to keep hope in their ordinary daily grinds as life goes on around them Amram’s flute adds texture and depth as Greenwoods voice belts out this tune.
Spiritually inspired, "God Is My Candle" commands attention as Greenwood comes back to her origins as a gospel singer, giving praise for her strength and blessings, acknowledging God’s gifts in her life.
"That’s The Truth Fine Daddy" is exactly what one might seek on a hot night out, looking for relief from pent up frustrations from a long week at work. Letting her hair down, jamming, Greenwood’s vocals are accompanied with a lively tenor sax solo, background vocals and hot piano rolls. Doing a slow and deeply felt "Summertime," a classic George Gershwin tune, Greenwood stands strong to the occasion, letting the words flow naturally.
Closing with straight ahead, "Going Down to Mobile" David Amram offers his fine vocals to the lyrics, then breaks out with a hot scat, telling Lil’s story of success to a streaming line of background piano, drums and a break-in with Lil’s own scat. This is what the south is all about breaking out, breaking lose and getting free spirited. Greenwood and Amram bring a plethora of tunes, melodies and emotions to the dream Back To My Roots.