Barbara Long (vcl), Billy Howell, Thad Jones (tp), Booker Ervin (ts), Herb Geller (as), Nat Phipps, Hank Jones (p), George Tucker, Scott LaFaro (b), Al Harewood, Elvin Jones (d)
Reference: FSRCD 1660
Bar code: 8427328616607
Born in Chicago on April 2, 1932, Barbara Long was essentially a small group singer in the tradition of Billie Holiday and the early Sarah Vaughan. Her first professional gig was as featured vocalist with tenorman Johnny Griffins trio at Chicagos Cotton Club. Early in 1959, she headed for New York, where a recording opportunity with altoist Herb Geller (tracks #13-16) led to a chance to record her own album for Savoy.
Called Soul, it was the only one she ever made. Backing her is the multifaceted arranger and trumpeterboth open and mutedBilly Howell, who had accompanied her since her Chicago days. He was attuned to every nuance of her style and she used his malleable and lovely tone as an effective contrast to her more broadgauged sound.
The front line included one of the brightest new tenor saxophone stars at the time, the fiercely rhythmic Booker Ervin, a featured soloist in Trolley Song and When Youre Smiling. The rhythm sectionNat Phipps, piano; George Tucker, bass; and Al Harewood, drumsis tight and together, while Barbara Longs pithy, faintly hoarse, intimately bluesy voice blends like a sixth instrument with the thoroughly cooking quintet that supports her.
"[...] Barbara Long, the Chicago club vocalist sang with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin's trio before she traveled to New York to record "Gypsy," her first album. Long's only other album was her own "Soul: The Voice of Barbara Long," for Savoy in 1961. Long had a dry, jazzy sound with a Sarah Vaughan approach. What became of Barbara Long after 1961 is unknown."
—Marc Myers (April 12, 2022)