The great trumpeter Clifford Brown produced only three albums backing singers during his tragically short career. All of his exquisite 1954 recordings as accompanist to Sarah Vaughan, Helen Merrill and Dinah Washington are included on this superlative 2CD collection.
While the albums by Sarah Vaughan and the Helen Merrill (still virtually unknown at the time) are standard studio sessions - the Dinah Washington date was recorded in the studio before a live audience in an attempt to recreate the spirit of a jam session.
01. SEPTEMBER SONG (5:45)
02. LULLABY OF BIRDLAND (4:02)
03. I'M GLAD THERE IS YOU (5:11)
04. YOU'RE NOT THE KIND (4:45)
05. JIM (5:52)
06. HE'S MY GUY (4:14)
07. APRIL IN PARIS (6:22)
08. IT'S CRAZY (4:58)
09. EMBRACEABLE YOU (4:51)
10. LULLABY OF BIRDLAND [Alternate Take] (3:59)
11. DON'T EXPLAIN (5:13)
12. BORN TO BE BLUE (5:15)
13. YOU'D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO (4:21)
14. 'S WONDERFUL (3:15)
15. YESTERDAYS (6:01)
16. FALLING IN LOVE WITH LOVE (3:53)
Total time: 78:04 min.
01. WHAT'S NEW (4:59)
02. I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN (5:28)
03. NO MORE (3:21)
04. DARN THAT DREAM (5:15)
05. YOU GO TO MY HEAD (11:15)
06. LOVER COME BACK TO ME (9:54)
07. BALLAD MEDLEY (7:21)
a) ALONE TOGETHER
c) COME RAIN OR COME SHINE
08. CRAZY HE CALLS ME (5:05)
09. THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE (2:17)
10. I'LL REMEMBER APRIL (11:44)
11. BALLAD MEDLEY (11:31)
a) MY FUNNY VALENTINE
b) DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME
c) BESS, YOU IS MY WOMAN NOW
d) IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING
Total time: 78:15 min.
CD 1, tracks #1-10 from "Sarah Vaughan Featuring Clifford Brown" (EmArcy MG-36004). Personnel: Sarah Vaughan (vcl), Clifford Brown (tp), Herbie Mann (fl), Paul Quinichette (ts), Jimmy Jones (p), Joe Benjamin (b) and Roy Haynes (d). Ernie Wilkins (arr, cond). Recorded in New York, on December 16-18, 1954.
CD 1, tracks #11-16 & CD2, track #1 from "Helen Merrill with Clifford Brown" (EmArcy MG-36006). Personnel: Helen Merrill (vcl), Clifford Brown (tp), Danny Bank (fl), Jimmy Jones (p), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b) and Osie Johnson (d), Quincy Jones (arr, cond). Recorded in New York, on December 22 [CD 1 #11-14] & on December 24 [CD 1 #15-16 & CD 2 #1], 1954. On December 24 Oscar Pettiford (b, cello) replaces Milt Minton and Bobby Donaldson (d) replaces Osie Johnson.
CD 2, tracks #2-11 from "Dianh Jams" (EmArcy MG-36000). Personnel: Dinah Washington (vcl), Clifford Brown, Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson (tp), Herb Geller (as), Harold Land (ts), Richie Powell, Junior Mance (p), Keter Betts, George Morrow (b) and Max Roach (d). Recorded in Los Angeles, on August 14, 1954.
-Sarah Vaughan Featuring Clifford Brown
"This 1954 studio date, a self-titled album recorded for Emarcy, was later reissued as Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown to denote the involvement of one of the top trumpeters of the day. Vaughan sings nine intimate standards with a band including Brown on trumpet, Herbie Mann on flute, and Paul Quinichette on tenor, each of which have plenty of space for solos (most of the songs are close to the five-minute mark). Vaughan is arguably in the best voice of her career here, pausing and lingering over notes on the standards "April in Paris," "Jim," and "Lullaby of Birdland." As touching as Vaughan is, however, Brown almost equals her with his solos on "Lullaby of Birdland," "Jim," and "September Song," displaying his incredible bop virtuosity in a restrained setting without sacrificing either the simple feeling of his notes or the extraordinary flair of his choices. Quinichette's solos are magnificent as well, his feathery tone nearly a perfect match for Vaughan's voice. Ironically though, neither Brown nor Quinichette or Mann appear on the album's highlight, "Embraceable You," which Vaughan performs with close accompaniment from the rhythm section: Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. Vaughan rounds the notes with a smile and even when she's steeping to reach a few low notes, she never loses the tremendous feeling conveyed by her voice. In whichever incarnation it's reissued, Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown is one of the most important jazz-meets-vocal sessions ever recorded."
John Bush -All Music Guide
"Every recording by the short-lived trumpeter Clifford Brown is worth exploring, including his three dates with singers Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and this CD reissue with Helen Merrill [...] Trumpeter Brown is joined by Danny Bank on baritone and flute, and a four-piece rhythm section including pianist Jimmy Jones and guitarist Barry Galbraith. Quincy Jones provided the arrangements. The music is essentially straight-ahead bop, yet the seven standards (which include "Don't Explain," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and "Falling in Love With Love") are uplifted by the presence of Merrill (in top form) and Brown."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"Recorded at the start of Dinah Washington's climb to fame, 1954's Dinah Jams was taped live in front of a studio audience in Los Angeles. While Washington is in top form throughout, effortlessly working her powerful, blues-based voice on both ballads and swingers, the cast of star soloists almost steals the show. In addition to drummer Max Roach, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and other members of Brown and Roach's band at the time - tenor saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow - trumpeters Maynard Ferguson and Clark Terry, alto saxophonist Herb Geller, and pianist Junior Mance also contribute to the session. Along with extended jams like "Lover Come Back to Me," "You Go to My Head," and "I'll Remember April" - all including a round of solos - there are shorter ballad numbers such as "There Is No Greater Love" and "No More," the last of which features excellent muted, obbligato work by Brown. Other solo highlights include Land's fine tenor solo on "Darn That Dream" and Geller's alto statement on the disc's standout Washington vocal, "Crazy." And even though she's in the midst of these stellar soloists, Washington expertly works her supple voice throughout to remain the star attraction, even matching the insane, high-note solo blasts trumpeter Ferguson expectedly delivers."
Stephen Cook -All Music Guide