Lena Horne - vocal with 1-8 Orchestra conducted by Lou Bring
9-12 Orchestra conducted by Horace Henderson, featuring Illinois Jacquet,
tenor saxophone; Lennie
Hayton, piano; Big Sid Catlett, drums.
13-15 Personnel unknown.
1. Stormy Weather
2. What Is This Thing Called Love ?
3. Ill Wind ( You're Blowin' Me No Good )
4. The Man I Love
5. Where Or When ?
6. I Got A Right To Sing The Blues
7. Mad About The Boy
8. Moanin' Low
9. As Long As I Live
10. I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues
11. I Didn't Know About You
12. One For My Baby ( And One More For The Road )
13. Suddenly It's Spring
14. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
15. I'll Be Around
The late Billy Strayhorn is on record as referring
to Lena Horne as the most wonderful woman in the world and after a
career spanning over fifty years it is perhaps a little difficult
to comprehend what a significant artiste and star she was in her earlier
period. Hopefully the performances on this compilation will somewhat
redress the balance. These selections were recorded between 1941 and
1945 when Miss Horne was in her mid twenties and already a veteran
of stage and screen of at least five years standing.
I suppose the closet comparison in terms of style
of delivery and interpretation that springs to mind would be Ivy Anderson
of Duke Ellington orchestra fame. Both singers have an economy of
emotion and an almost straight way of reading a lyric that is nevertheless
most effective in its subtlety. One could never accuse either singer
of wearing their heart on their sleeve and because of this many of
their recordings are much more satisfying in that they truly do justice
to the works of the better songwriters rather than just use them as
a vehicle for self indulgence.
The material contained here is a very interesting
mixture of well known standards and some tunes that are now almost
forgotten. "Stormy Weather " is possibly the song most often associated
with Lena Horne and her version is pure delight. Of equal stature
are "Ill Wind" and the song which must be one of the finest by that
outstanding team Rodgers and Hart -"Where Or When."
The Noel Coward song is well read and illustrates
the point most adequately that he was in the same league as his Trans-Atlantic
contemporaries. My favourite tracks are the first two Ellington compositions,
particularly "I Didn't Know About You " which is a sadly neglected
piece, being possessed of a first class melody and a sophisticated
lyric to rival any in that time of superb musical poetry.
The accompaniments on the first twelve tracks are
excellent complete with some impressive tenor from Illinois Jacquet
. However, the final three selections are not of the same calibre,
replete as they are with a rather cloying vocal chorus backing. This
is, on the whole, a most enjoyable disc and one worthy of a place
in any collection of 20th Century singers.