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Released October 5, 2004
Genre Vocal jazz
Label Sanctuary Records (U.K.)
Earthsong / AgU Music Group (U.S.)
JVC Victor (Japan)
Producer Ira Schickman
Eve Nelson
Chaka Khan

ClassiKhan is the tenth studio album by American R&B/funk singer Chaka Khan, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, Produced and arranged by Eve Nelson and released in 2004 on the at the time still independent label Sanctuary Records in the U.K., on Earthsong/AgU Music Group in the U.S. and in 2005 also in Japan on JVC Victor.

As Allmusic point out in their review, with Khan’s well-known affinity and acclaim for interpreting jazz standards in mind, which through most of her career on the Warner Bros. label had been relegated to the backburner, an album with the title ClassiKhan could at first glance very easily be mistaken for being a belated sequel to 1982’s Echoes of an Era. While the album indeed does focus on jazz and swing standards like “Stormy Weather”, “Hazel’s Hips”, “Round Midnight” and “Teach Me Tonight” it also features an eclectic selection of classics from other genres, like pop culture favourites such as Broadway show tune “Hey Big Spender” from the musical Sweet Charity, Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” penned by Leiber & Stoller and even a 60’s country and western classic in the form of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, written by Willie Nelson. ClassiKhan also features the themes of classic film favourites from Khan’s youth, “To Sir With Love” and the James Bond themes “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever”. The collection concludes with one new composition, the ballad “I Believe”, co-written by Khan and the album’s producer Ira Shickman.

The title ClassiKhan is naturally also a reference to Khan’s accompaniment on the set. On the Echoes of an Era album it was a five-piece all-star jazz ensemble, on ClassiKhan it is The New York All Star Musicians – but with the addition of the full London Symphony Orchestra, conducted and arranged by Eve Nelson and with orchestrations by producer Ira Schickman and Gary Anderson.

The album was mainly recorded at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios and it features guest appearances by among others pianist Joe Sample and percussionist Sheila E., best known for her work with Prince.

ClassiKhan was both a critical and commercial success, even reaching #42 on Billboard’s R&B albums chart.

Track listing

“Hey Big Spender” (Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields) – 3:18
“Hazel’s Hips” (Oscar Brown) – 2:59
“Best Is Yet to Come” (Carolyn Leigh, Cy Coleman) – 4:44
“Crazy” (Willie Nelson) – 3:09
“I’m in the Mood for Love” (Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh) – 3:47
“Is That All There Is?” (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) – 3:58
“Stormy Weather” (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 4:37
“‘Round Midnight” (Bernard Hanighen, Charles “Cootie” Williams, Thelonious Monk) – 4:30
“Teach Me Tonight” (Gene de Paul, Sammy Cahn) – 4:11
“To Sir with Love” (Donald Black, Mark London) – 4:23
“Diamonds Are Forever” (Donald Black, John Barry) – 3:02
“Goldfinger” (Anthony Newley, John Barry, Leslie Bricusse) – 3:08
“I Believe” (Chaka Khan, Ira Schickman) – 3:34
“To Sir with Love” (Barry Harris Club Mix) (Donald Black, Mark London) – 8:56
Japanese bonus track


Chaka Khan – vocals
Andy Snitzer – clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Charles Pillow – clarinet, oboe, alto saxophone
Joe Sample – piano
Eve Nelson – piano (track: 13)
Sheila E. – percussion (tracks: 4, 6, 10 to 12)
Jay Anderson – acoustic bass
Ray Cervenka – bass (track: 10)
Kevin Kuhn – acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Dennis Mackrel – drums
Lee Musiker – piano
New York All Star Musicians – performers
London Symphony Orchestra – orchestra
Roger Rosenberg – bassoon, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone
Timothy Ries – flute, tenor & alto saxophone
Ann Elisworth – French horn
Chris Komar – French horn
John Clark Sr. – French horn
Karen Vaughan – harp (principal)
David Jackson – percussion (principal)
Dennis Anderson – tenor saxophone, clarinet
David Pietro – alto & tenor saxophone, flute
Nigel Thomas – timpani (principal)
M. Birch Johnson – trombone
Michael Davis – trombone
George – bass & tenor trombone
Dave Stahl – trumpet
James Hynes – trumpet
Anthony Kadleck – trumpet
Carmine Lauri – first violin, leader
Caroline O-Neill – violin (first)
Claire Parfitt – violin (first)
Colin Renwick – violin (first)
Ginette Decuyper – violin (first)
Gordon McKay – violin (first)
Harriet Rayfield – violin (first)
Ian Rhodes – violin (first)
Jorg Hammann – violin (first)
Maxine Kwok – violin (first)
Michael Humphrey – violin (first)
Nicholas Wright – violin (first)
Nicole Wilson – violin (first)
Nigel Broadbent – violin (first)
Robin Brightman – violin (first)
Sylvain Vasseur – violin (first)
Evgeny Grach – violin (second, principal)
Andrew Pollock – violin (second)
Belinda McFarlane – violin (second)
David Ballesteros – violin (second)
Ian McDonough – violin (second)
Louise Shackelton – violin (second)
Matthew Gardner – violin (second)
Norman Clarke – violin (second)
Paul Robson – violin (second)
Richard Blayden – violin (second)
Sarah Quinn – violin (second)
Stephen Rowlinson – violin (second)
Tammy Se – violin (second)
Tiberiu Buta – violin (second)
Paul Silvethorne – viola (principal)
Gillianne Haddow – viola (co-principal)
Duff Burns – viola
Elisabeth Varlow – viola
Gina Zagni – viola
Jonathan Welch – viola
Peter Norriss – viola
Regina Beukes – viola
Robert Turner – viola
Moray Welsh – cello (principal)
Rebecca Gilliver – cello (co-principal)
Francis Saunders – cello
Hilary Jones – cello
Jennifer Brown – cello
Nicholas Gethin – cello
Noel Bradshaw – cello
Ray Adams – cello


Eve Nelson – record producer, musical arranger, orchestral conductor
Ira Schickman – writer producer (track: 13)
Chaka Khan – additional production, executive producer
Stu Ric – executive producer
Tammy McCrary – executive producer
Bernadette O’Reilly – Project Supervisor (Production Company) Nelson-O’Reilly Productions
Ray Cervenka – additional production and Pro Tools editor (all tracks except:9 )
Joe Sample – piano arrangement (tracks: 7 to 9)
Arnold Mischkulnig – Pro Tools editor
Andy Sntizer – Pro Tools editor (track: 9)
Gary Anderson – musical arranger (track: 5), orchestrator (tracks: 4, 5, 10, 12), copyist, music preparation, New York All Star Musicians contractor, additional score preparation (tracks: 7 to 9)
Shari Feder – orchestrator (tracks: 1 to 3, 6, 11)
Alan Silverman – audio mastering
Cynthia Daniels – audio mixing, recording
Drew Griffiths – assistant engineer
Raymond McKinley – assistant engineer
Sam O’Kell – assistant engineer
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London; Whitfield Street Studios, London; Clinton Recording, NYC and Blue 52 Studio.
Mixed at Old Stone Studios.
Additional editing at 22nd St. Street Studios.
Mastered at ARFI Digital Studios, NYC, NY.
Norman Scott – photography
Giulio Costanzo – art direction, design