- Itís The Little Things That mean So Much
- Iím Pulling Through
- Sweet Lorraine
- I Never Felt This Way Before
- Theme For Carmen
- As Time Goes By
- Carmenís Blues
- As Long As I Live
- I Guess Iíll hang My Tears Out to Dry
- I Hadnít Anyone Till You
- Embraceable You
- Old Devil Moon
Carmen McCrae Ė Piano
Marion McPartland Ė Piano
The musical tracks are interspersed with conversation
between the two pianists.
Carmen McCrae was one of the very best all-time jazz
vocalists, had she not been a contemporary of Sarah Vaughan and Ella
Fitzgerald, she would surely have been the tops. She certainly rates
in my top three! She is also more than competent pianist, quite capable
of playing her own accompaniment and earlier in her career, she was
employed as a pianist before launching her singing career.
This series of records taken from radio broadcasts,
this one from 1985, I have found absolutely fascinating. They tell
you something about the pianists that she interviews that no amount
of reading from books can give. This is the second in the series I
have reviewed, the first was with Oscar Peterson and there is no doubt
in my mind that Marion McPartlandís empathy with her studio guests
allows us a unique insight into their character. This empathy is aided
by her own capability as a jazz pianist, she is a very interesting
and extremely musical player with a lovely jazz feels about everything
There are piano solos from both artists, as well
as solo pieces and both play for Carmen to sing. The piano duet on
As Time Goes By, works in a way that only the real jazz musician can
spontaneously achieve. The same goes for the blues improvisation that
follows, which has a flavour of Blue Monk about it.
McCrae is superb on the great Harold Arlen melody
As Long As I Live, the vocal and the piano playing are both exquisite.
If anyone doubts my assessment of her ability, they should listen
to this track.
In the sleeve notes Marion says that she some apprehension
about this interview, Carmen has a reputation as a very tough character,
that no one should mess with. None of this comes over on the record,
perhaps it was that she did not suffer fools gladly, but found a sympathetic
welcome from another top class musician conducive as a working atmosphere.
I Guess Iíll Hang My Tears Out to Dry is another good tune, this time
by Sammy Cahn and Carmen gives another fine performance, she also
plays some nice piano to accompany herself on I Hadnít Anyone Till
Embraceable You features Marion and once again she
delivers the goods with subtle improvisations around the glorious
theme that George Gershwin wrote.
The record is completed by Old Devil Moon with Marion
on piano behind Carmenís vocal and this great old song rounds off
an hour of sheer enjoyment. I donít know how many of these records
there are, but I wish I had them all!