Elise LeGrow's debut album Playing Chess is a sublime collection of dramatically reimagined songs from the Chess Records catalog. Produced by soul legend Betty Wright, S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg, and studio wizard Michael Mangini - the Grammy-winning team behind Joss Stone's multi-platinum Soul Sessions – the album features eleven tracks with contributions by special guests Questlove and Captain Kirk Douglas of the Roots, the Dap-Kings horns and more.
With a track list that includes "Can't Judge a Book," "Who Do You Love," and "Rescue Me," you've heard many of the songs on Playing Chess – but never like this. LeGrow's interpretations transport these tracks to a world where the past and present are inextricably intertwined, and LeGrow's one-in-a-million voice is front and center.
LeGrow's interpretation of "Who Do You Love" is less Bo Diddley and more George Clinton, and she reimagines the 50's doo-wop of Johnnie and Joe's "Over The Mountain" as a 70's acoustic guitar-and-piano-driven track. "Can't Judge A Book" mashes up "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" and "You Can't Catch Me" into a feel-good anthem of individuality and self-expression. And Questlove pays drums on "Long And Lonely Nights," a song originally recorded for Chess by his late father's band Lee Andrews & The Hearts.