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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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The Complete 1946-1955

Le Chant du Monde




1. Easy to Love

2. If I'm Lucky (I'll Be The One)

3. Old Devil Moon

4. Tip Toe Gently

5. Keep Me In Mind

6. Ooh (What Cha Doin' To Me)

7. They All Laughed

8. If I'm Lucky (I'll Be The One)

9. You Made Me Care

10. Last Time For Love

11. Too Much In Love To Care

12. Misery

13. Get Set

14. Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)

15. Am I The One To Blame

16. You Don't Have To Tell Me

17. A Fine Romance

18. I Go For You

19. Just One Of Those Things

20. Sometimes I'm Happy

21. Something To Live For

22. Love Is Here To Stay


1. I Can't Get Started

2. This Will Make You Laugh

3. Supper Time

4. My One And Only Love

5. Yardbird Suite

6. Give Me The Simple Life

7. I'll Remember April

8. You Took Advantage Of Me

9. Tonight He's Out To Break Another Heart

10. Come On, Come In

11. The Next Time It Happens

12. Come Down To Earth, Mr Smith

13. Wanting You

14. A Foggy Day

15. Autumn Nocturne

16. In Love In Vain

17. Go Slow

18. Charlie Is My Darling

19.Are You Happy?

20. Oh, My Darling!

21. Pass Me By

Collective personnel

Carmen McRae - Vocals, piano

Mercer Ellington, Larry Elgart, Dave Lambert, Jack Pleis - Bandleaders

Kenny Dorham, Bob Williams, Ray Copeland, Henry Boozier - Trumpets

Ted Kelly, Dan Minor, Charles Stovall - Trombones

Jacky Fields, Curby Alexander - Alto saxes

Freddie Williams, Alva McCain - Tenor saxes

Harry Webster - Baritone sax

Luther Henderson, Dick Katz, Billy Strayhorn - Piano

Bill Pemberton, Wendell Marshall, Percy Heath - Bass

Heywood Jackson, Kenny Clarke, Osie Johnson - Drums

Herbie Mann - Flute, tenor sax

Mat Matthews - Accordion

Mundell Lowe - Guitar

Tony Scott - Clarinet, piano

Sammy Davis Jr. - Vocals


Right from her first record (Pass Me By with Mercer Ellington's orchestra), which unaccountably closes this double album, Carmen McRae displayed a clear, pure voice with perfect pitch, inventive phrasing and a talent for improvisation. Her models were good ones: Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. Indeed, she often sounds like Sarah Vaughan on this compilation, which illustrates her early style.

The album title may be misleading, as it doesn't include McRae's complete recordings from 1946 to 1955. It omits a 1948 recording session with Charlie Parker which is referred to in the sleeve-note and which included an earlier version of Yardbird Suite than the 1955 recording which is present here. Many of the songs are jazz standards, but there are also some interesting unfamiliar items, such as Supper Time, which exemplifies Carmen's ability to deliver a sad song, as well as her ability as a pianist.

A Fine Romance and I Go For You are duets with Sammy Davis Jr., who puts across the songs with typical melodrama. Tip Toe Gently includes a fine tenor-sax solo by Herbie Mann, who is better known as a flautist. Tony Scott's clarinet comes through clearly on tracks 9 to 11 of the first CD, and he accompanies Carmen on piano in Misery. Billy Strayhorn makes a brief appearance on piano, accompanying Carmen in his own composition, Something To Live For.

The album comes with a 36-page booklet (half of it in French), attractively illustrated with photos and album covers. It's a mystery to me why the tracks are not exactly in chronological order.

Tony Augarde

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