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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet
CARMEN McRAE
Marion McPartlandís

PIANO JAZZ

Radio Broadcast

The Jazz Alliance TJA 120392

 


  1. Itís The Little Things That mean So Much
  2. Iím Pulling Through
  3. Sweet Lorraine
  4. I Never Felt This Way Before
  5. Theme For Carmen
  6. As Time Goes By
  7. Carmenís Blues
  8. As Long As I Live
  9. I Guess Iíll hang My Tears Out to Dry
  10. I Hadnít Anyone Till You
  11. Embraceable You
  12. 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 she does.

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 You.

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!

Don Mather

 

 



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