This release presents two outstanding albums featuring Carmen McRae at her best. On For Cool Ones, shes backed by various studio groups, all directed by cellist Fred Katz, on which she sings a dozen tunes with a mature, natural style that epitomized her approach. Aware at all times of the lyrics and what theyre about, she invests them with the kind of significance a great singer and interpreter of songs can bring to them.
On Mad About the Man, she explores a dozen Coward tunessome romantic, some touchingly perceptive, and all sophisticatedthis time backed by three studio groups directed by Jack Pleis, with with her own rhythm section (Ray Bryant, piano; Ike Isaacs, bass; Specs Wright, drums) in place throughout. She makes the most of the sometimes insouciant airiness of Cowards creations and invests all his songs with her own warmth and rigorous attention to detail.
01. Youre Mine (Snyder-Lewis-Young) 3:25
02. Oh Yes, I Remember Clifford (Golson-Hendricks) 2:59
03. A Shoulder to Cry On (Darwin-Girard) 3:51
04. Weak for the Man (Burns) 4:07
05. All the Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:24
06. (What Can I Say) After I Say Im Sorry (Donaldson-Lyman) 1:45
07. If I Were a Bell (Loesser) 1:53
08. Any Old Time (Shaw) 3:08
09. Whats New? (Haggart-Burke) 2:27
10. Without a Word of Warning (Gordon-Revel) 3:18
11. The Night We Called It a Day (Dennis-Adair) 4:25
12. I Get a Kick Out of You (Porter) 2:13
13. Zigeuner (Coward) 2:39
14. Ill See You Again (Coward) 2:42
15. Someday Ill Find You (Coward) 2:54
16. Ill Follow My Secret Heart (Coward) 2:42
17. If Love Were All (Coward) 2:48
18. Mad About the Boy (Coward) 4:15
19. World Weary (Coward) 2:54
20. A Room with a View (Coward) 2:42
21. I Cant Do Anything at All (Coward) 2:57
22. Never Again (Coward) 2:49
23. Poor Little Rich Girl (Coward) 3:01
24. Why Does Love Get in the Way (Coward) 2:33
Tracks #1-12 from the Decca album "Carmen For Cool Ones" (DL8738)
Tracks #7-15 from the Decca album "Mad About The Man" (DL8662)
Personnel on CARMEN FOR COOL ONES (#1-12):
Carmen McRae, with Orchestra Directed by Fred Katz
Collective personnel includes: Ray Linn, Pete Candoli (tp), Vince DeRosa (frh), Milt Bernhart, Bob Enevoldsen (tb), Buddy Collette (fl, as), Bill Green, Harry Klee (fl), Warren Webb (oboe), Justin Gordon, Mahlon Clark (b-cl), George W. Smith (cl), Joe Marino, Ike Isaacs, John T. Williams, Joe Marino, Calvin Jackson (p, celeste), Joseph Gibbons, Billy Bean, (g), Frank Flynn (vib, marimba), Ike Isaacs, Red Mitchell (b), Specs Wright (d), Larry Bunker (vib, d), Fred Katz (cello), John 'Tommy' Johnson (tuba), nine violins, two violas, two cellos.
Recorded in Los Angeles, December 5 (#1-4), 16 (#5-11), 1957, and April 21 (#12), 1958
Personnel on MAD ABOUT THE MAN
Carmen McRae Sings Noel Coward (#13-24):
Carmen McRae, with Orchestra Directed by Jack Pleis
Collective personnel includes: Charlie Shavers (tp), George Berg (fl), B. Kaufman, Ed Brown, (as), Seldon Powell, Mel Tax (ts), William Holcombe (bar), Frank Rehak, Chauncey Welsch, Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Tom Mitchell (b-tb), Ray Bryant (p), Al Casamenti, George Barnes, Barry Galbraith, Danny Perri (g), Charles Isaacs (b), Specs Wright (d), Raoul Poliakin, Mac Ceppos, Herb Bourne, J. Held, F. Orlewitz, Tom Frost (violins), George Browne, H. Kaye (cellos).
Recorded in New York City, June 18 (#13-16), June 19 (#17-20), June 20 (#21-24), 1957
Original Decca recordings
Compiled for CD release by Jordi Pujol
24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"Carmen McRae was already 34 when she made her first full album in 1954 and she was fully formed. Her valuable albums of the 1950s for Decca and Kapp had been long overdue to be reissued. "Carmen For Cool Ones/Mad About The Man" (FSR 670) has all of the music from two Lps dating from 1957-58 on one CD.
The former set has the singer accompanied by four very different ensembles arranged by Fred Katz, singing a wide variety of material including the first vocal version of I Remember Clifford, If I Were A Bell, I Get A Kick Out Of You and some fine obscurities. Mad About The Man is an unlikely jazz treatment of a dozen Noel Coward songs written for the stage. Jack Pleis contributed the arrangements and McRae uplifts the material which, with a few exceptions such as Poor Little Rich Girl, is rarely heard in a jazz setting."
Scott Yanow -Los Angeles Jazz Scene (April, 2012)