Norman Simmons (p), Mundell Lowe (g), Bob Cranshaw (b), Walter Perkins (d), Nat Adderley (cnt), Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis (ts), Dave Brubeck (p), Paul Desmond (ts), Gene Wright (b), Joe Morello (d)
Reference: FSRCD 740
When Carmen McRae (1920-1994) made the splendid Sings Lover Man and other Billie Holiday Classics in 1961 it was a heartfelt tribute to her main influence.
By then she was a mature, confident stylist, sufficiently secure in her own musical identity not to be intimidated by her great idol. Few singers could dare to take on Strange Fruitespecially accompanied only by guitar or risk echoing Lady Days approach on songs like Travlin Light and Them There Eyes, and emerge not merely unscathed, but with her reputation enhanced. She gets wonderful support from Nat Adderley, Lockjaw Davis and Mundell Lowe, while Norman Simmons contributes brilliantly as pianist and arranger. Amid striking performances other standouts include God Bless The Child, Yesterdays and My Man.
In the Shapiro-Hentoff famous book 'Hear Me Talkin to Ya,' Carmen McRae talks of Billie Holiday. She speaks of the late vocalist with sympathetic insight. In one passage, while ostensibly speaking of Billie Holiday, she is actually summarizing the essence of Carmen McRae: ... she sings the way she is. Singing is the only place she can express herself the way she'd like to be all the time. Only way she is happy is through a song. I don't think she expresses herself as she would want to when you meet her in person. The only time she's at ease and at rest with herself is when she sings.
Miss McRae also worked several times with Dave Brubeck, whose quartet with Paul Desmond was then at the height of its popularity. Collected here are some rare examples of their collaborations, all from 1961. Desmond appears on only oneTake Five, naturallyand almost all the repertoire is originals which Brubeck and his wife, Iola, composed for various projects. It includes two of Brubecks best known songs, Strange Meadowlark and Its a Raggy Waltz, and one track features no less than Louis Armstrong.
01. Them There Eyes (Pinkard-Tracy-Tauber) 2:45
02. Yesterdays (Harbach-Kern) 4:52
03. Im Gonna Lock My Heart (Eaton-Shand) 2:32
04. Strange Fruit (Allan) 2:46
05. Miss Brown to You (Robin-Whiting-Rainger) 2:27
06. My Man (Pollack-Yvain) 4:05
07. I Cried for You (Freed-Arnheim-Lyman) 2:52
08. Lover Man (Davis-Sherman-Ramirez) 4:18
09. Travlin Light (Mercer-Mundy-Young) 2:19
10. Some Other Spring (Herzog-Kitchings) 3:02
11. What a Little Moonlight Can Do (Woods) 3:31
12. God Bless the Child (Herzog-Holiday) 3:24
13. If the Moon Turns Green (Hanighen-Cates) 3:28
14. The Christmas Song (Tormé-Wells) 3:54
15. Weep No More (D.& I. Brubeck) 2:49
16. Briar Bush [Southern Scene] (D.& I. Brubeck) 2:54
17. Paradiddle Joe (Morris-Pugsley-Trotta) 2:02
18. Strange Meadowlark (D.& I.Brubeck) 2:38
19. Therell Be No Tomorrow (D.& I.Brubeck) 4:29
20. Its a Raggy Waltz (Brubeck) 1:54
21. Take Five (Desmond-I. & D.Brubeck) 2:14
22. In the Lurch (D.& I.Brubeck) 2:29
23. My One Bad Habit (Brubeck-Brubeck-Fitzgerald) 2:37
24. Easy As You Go (D.& I.Brubeck) 1:35
25. Summer Song (D.& I.Brubeck) 2:20
26. Good Reviews (D.& I.Brubeck) 2:05
Tracks #1-12, from the Carmen McRae album
"Sings Lover Man and other Billie Holiday Classics" (Columbia CS8530)
Track #13, taken from the album "Whos Who in the Sixties" (Columbia CS8565)
Track #14, taken from the album "Jingle Bell Jazz" (Columbia CS8693)
Tracks #15-18, taken from the Dave Brubeck Quartet album
"Guest Star Carmen McRae Tonight Only!" (Columbia CS8409)
Track #19, taken from the album
"Gold and Fizdale Play Dave Brubecks Jazz Ballet Points on Jazz" (Columbia CS8478)
Track #20, from the 45 rpm Columbia EP (4-3279)
Tracks #21 & 24, from the 45 rpm Columbia EP (4-2292)
Tracks #22, 23 & 26, taken from the album "The Real Ambassadors" (Columbia OS2250)
Track #25, not on the original album configurations
Carmen McRae sings in all tracks
Personnel on #1-12:
Norman Simmons (p), Mundell Lowe (g), Bob Cranshaw (b), Walter Perkins (d). Featuring Nat Adderley (crt, except on #9 & 10) and Eddie Lockjaw Davis (ts, except on #5, 6 & 10).
Track #4 is a duet with Mundell Lowe on guitar.
Recorded in New York City, June 29 and July 26 (#3, 8, 13), 1961
Tracks #13 & 14 were recorded during the above sessions, but are not related to Billie Holiday.
Personnel on #15-26:
Dave Brubeck (p), Gene Wright (b), Joe Morello (d), Paul Desmond (as, added on #21)
Recorded in New York City, September 9 (#15-18), 1960, June 21 (#19), December 15 (#20 & 21), and 19 (#22-25), 1961
Personnel on #26:
Louis Armstrong (tp, vcl), Trummy Young (tb), Joe Darensbourg (cl), Dave Brubeck (p), Gene Wright (b), Danny Barcelona (d)
Recorded in New York City, on September 19, 1961
Original recordings produced by Teo Macero
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
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