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Reviewers: Don Mather, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke


BLUE MOON
Carmen McRae
VERVE 543 829-2

Crotchet
 

  1. Blue Moon

  2. My Foolish Heart
  3. I was Doing All Right
  4. Summer is Gone
  5. I'm Putting All my Eggs in One Basket
  6. Nowhere
  7. Until the real thing comes Along
  8. Lush Life
  9. Even if it Breaks my Heart
  10. Laughing Boy
  11. Lilacs in the Rain
  12. All This could lead to Love.

Carmen McRae was a jazz singer from the big league; her work can be compared with that of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billy Holiday, now sadly all of them have passed on. Fortunately each of them left us a legacy of superb recordings of which this is one.

Carmen's start in the music business was identical to that of Ella Fitzgerald, she appeared in the Amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in New York, her home town. In the audience were pianist Teddy Wilson and his Songwriter wife Irene Kitchings, they were impressed and gave a help to her start in the business. She had studied piano as a child, because her parents had hoped she would have a career in classical music. The lessons and the practice were not wasted however; early in her career she had a job at Minton's Playhouse as an intermission pianist and throughout her career she continued to play the instrument at some stage in her live performances. Her pitching and diction were faultless and even when some of the arrangements on this session are not exactly what she might have chosen; she always delivers the goods.

The album was first released in 1956 on the Decca label and from that time right up to the 1980's, she continued to record high quality albums. Many jazz artistes were under pressure in the 1970's and 80's to move towards rock, folk or pop music, but Carmen continued to record the jazz that she was dedicated to.

Some of the backings on this album are arranged and played by 'early day be-bopper,' pianist Tadd Dameron, the remainder by Jimmy Mundy, with an Orchestra that included strings.

The quality of the material here is variable, but the quality of performance is not: Carmen could make the dullest song sound wonderful. She also had that quality which only the true greats have; she made it all sound so easy!

This is an essential album for the serious jazz listener.

Don Mather

Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and Bandleader based in Coventry




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