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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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In the Spotlight + Sweet and Low Down

Solar 4569931
(distributed by Discovery



1. From This Moment On
2. Kiss And Run
3. Two Peas In A Pod
4. Cake Walk
5. Have You Met Miss Jones?
6. How Are You Fixed For Love?
7. Let Me Love You
8. You Don't Know What Love Is
9. Easy Living
10. You Do Something To Me
11. You're My Thrill
12. Who Cares
13. Sweet And Low-Down
14. `S Wonderful
15. Cheek To Cheek
16. They Can't Take That Away From Me
17. Hallelujah!
18. Chicago
19. Mountain Greenery
20. Experiment
21. Fun Life
22. Wingin' With The Wind
23. You Smell So Good
24. Daahoud
25. Says My Heart

Jackie Cain - Vocals,
Roy Kral - Piano, vocals
Monty Budwig - Bass (tracks 1-12)
Shelly Manne - Drums (tracks 1-12, 23-25)
Anthony Ortega - Alto sax, flute (tracks 13-22)
Larry Bunker - Vibes (tracks 13-22)
Barney Kessel - Guitar (tracks 13-25)
Al McKibbon - Bass (tracks 13-22)
Frank Butler - Drums (tracks 13-22)
Red Mitchell - Bass (tracks 22-25)


Jackie Cain and Roy Kral became well-known when they joined Charlie Ventura's "Bop for the People" combo in the late 1940s. Roy was a talented pianist and singer who wrote some good arrangments for the Ventura band. Jackie was aslso a fine singer, and she married Roy after they left the Ventura group in 1949. Thereafter they worked together mainly as a double act. Kral's voice was pleasantly mellow; Cain had a rather brighter, sometimes edgier voice, and they made beautiful music together for many years.

This CD contains two LPs: In the Spotlight from 1958 and Sweet and Low Down from 1960, plus three bonus tracks from 1955. The duo's perfect fit is shown in such tracks as 'S Wonderful and You Smell So Good: harmonizing cheerfully together as well as scatting. Even when they seem to be improvising, they phrase precisely together. Roy Kral wrote the arrangements and he devised some excellent two-part vocal harmonies. Both of them had clear enuncation, and they delivered lyrics meaningfully.

They both had a tendency to stretch out the final syllables of words, which occasionally sounds artificial, but they were masters of vocal technique. On Kiss and Run Roy proves himself the ideal accompanist for his wife, who sings alone on this and several other tracks. Cheek to Cheek - another solo Cain performance - illustrates Jackie's ability to change tempos suddenly. Roy also takes the occasional vocal solo, as on Have You Met Miss Jones?, which also includes some adept piano soloing.

Jackie and Roy were renowned for performing unusual repertoire - such as Fran Landesman's Two Peas In A Pod and Cole Porter's Experiment. The title-track of Sweet and Low Down is another rarely-heard song, written by the Gershwin brothers for their 1925 musical Tip-Toes. Jackie and Roy were just one of those many jazz acts which had great success in their day but are in danger of being forgotten today. So this release is welcome as a reminder of one of the most talented duos in jazz vocalising.

Tony Augarde

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