Barbara Russell (vcl), with orchestras arranged and conducted by Don Costa, Nick Perito & Bucky Pizzarelli
Reference: FSRCD 856
Bar code: 8427328608565
Barbara Russell was a singer with a vibrant, arresting vocal quality, a fine sense of phrasing and feel for a lyric, and an utterly captivating style. She was also a tall, willowy blonde, a commanding presence and a star in every respect. It made for a performer capable of holding an audience from the first note and maintaining the interest and excitement throughout the entire performance.
Her jazz-influenced style runs the gamut from warm, intimate ballads to the swinging up tempo tunes, as she demonstrated in these two albums recorded for United Artists between 1960 and 1962. She treated each song with respect, and the Don Costa arrangements on Swing with Me, and those of Nick Peritofor Golden Blues became the velvet cushion for the jeweled tones of Barbara Russell.
As a bonus, the last four tracks included here were recorded live at Jazzland, a theater-restaurant, opened in May 1964 in the Louisiana Pavilion at the World's Fair. Jazzland was open daily from noon to 2 A.M., with Barbara Russell among the attractions, as well as the Al Beldini trio, who accompanied her.
"Not a jazz singer, Russell takes few liberties, content to deliver pleasing versions of familiar songs. Her vocal sound, creamily lyrical and rhythmically engaging, matches that of many other good if better-known singers of the time. The studio orchestras lean toward post-swing era concepts, providing a showcase for Russell with a few solos, mainly flute and guitar. Russell appears to have vanished after these sessions and deserves to be remembered and thanks to Jordi Pujol we can now enjoy her work. Here are two complete United Artists LPs, plus four tracks backed by the Al Baldini Trio (and unknown horns on one track), recorded live during the Worlds Fair. Any Friends of Good Songs still around will happily add an extra star to the rating, which reflects JJs core readership."
-Bruce Crowther (Jazz Journal, June 2015)