Connie Russell (New York 1923 – Los Angeles 1990) was born to a family of artists, and as such she started her career as a nightclub singer and actress at a very early age. She appeared in several radio and TV shows, and also on films, but she was always better known as a singer than as an actress. She was not only strikingly beautiful, she also an exciting performer to watch. Every one of her renditions is full of warmth and conviction, and delivered with her dark, suggestive, and velvety voice.
This set includes two excellent albums she recorded for United Artists Records “Don’t Smoke in Bed” (1958) and “Alone with You” (1959). The orchestral backing is the work of Ian Bernard, and shows his skill as an arranger and conductor. The various sized instrumental combinations put together by Bernard, are further blessed by some of the best West Coast jazzmen, who contributed with quality solos, used to fine, gusty effect sprinkled throughout a tasteful blend of swinging and slow-burning tunes. There are no gimmicks or affections in Connie’s singing. The honesty of her style will make a lasting impression on any listener.
01. For Every Man There’s A Woman (Arlen-Robin) 3:33
02. Don’t Smoke in Bed (Willard Robison) 3:25
03. You’re My Thrill (Garney-Clare) 2:44
04. Lonely Town (Bernstein-Green-Comden) 3:42
05. Love Is A Simple Thing (Carroll-Siegel) 2:40
06. I Wanna Be Loved (Green-Rose-Heyman) 2:30
07. The Thrill Is Gone (Henderson-Brown) 2:32
08. You’ve Changed (Carey-Fischer) 2:27
09. Woman’s Love (Lerner-Corpora) 2:38
10. Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington-Mills-Gordon) 3:45
11. Caravan (Ellington-Mills-Tizol) 3:25
12. Angel Eyes (Dennis-Brendt) 4:32
13. Alone with You (Amsterdam-Lewis-Williams) 1:58
14. Close Your Eyes (Petkere) 2:17
15. Near You (Goell-Craig) 2:35
16. All I Do Is Dream of You (Freed-Brown) 2:34
17. I Can’t Give You Anything but Love (Fields-McHugh) 2:30
18. Take Me in Your Arms (Markus-Rotter-Parish) 2:23
19. Dream a Little Dream of Me (Kahn-Schwandt-Andree) 2:14
20. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To (Cole Porter) 2:20
21. You and the Night and the Music (Dietz-Schwartz) 2:10
22. That Old Feeling (Brown-Fain) 2:45
23. The Touch of Your Lips (Ray Noble) 2:25
24. You’re My Man (Ian Bernard) 2:28
Tracks #1-12, from the 12" LP "Don't Smoke in Bed" (United Artists UAS 6022)
Tracks #13-24, from the 12" LP "Alone With You" (United Artists UAS 6063)
Connie Russell, sings in all tracks
Accompanied by orchestra, arranged & conducted by Ian Bernard
Personnel on "Don't Smoke in Bed":
Tracks #5,6,9,10: Murray McEachern, trombone; Abe Most, flute, clarinet, tenor sax; Howard Roberts, guitar; Joe Mondragon, bass; Alvin Stoller, drums.
Recorded in Hollywood, Radio Recorders, November 18, 1958
Tracks #2,4,7,8: Milt Bernhart, trombone; Vince De Rosa, French horn; Harry Klee, flute; Chuck Gentry, clarinet; Jules Jacob, oboe; Joe Mondragon, bass; Milt Holland, drums; String section (12 violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos).
Recorded in Hollywood, Radio Recorders, November 19, 1958
Tracks #1,3,11,12: Al Porcino, Ray Linn, Manny Klein, trumpets; Joe Howard, Milt Bernhart, Herbie Harper, trombones; George Roberts, bass trombone; Abe Most, flute, clarinet, alto sax; Harry Klee, flute, bass clarinet; tenor sax; Jules Jacob, oboe & tenor sax; Jimmy Rowles, piano; Howard Roberts, guitar; Larry Bunker, vibes & bongos; Joe Mondragon, bass; Mel Lewis, drums.
Recorded in Hollywood, Radio Recorders, November 20, 1958
Personnel on "Alone With You":
Tracks #14,16,17,21: Ray Linn, trumpet; Frank Rosolino, trombone; John Cave, French horn; Abe Most, clarinet, alto sax; Harry Klee, tenor sax; Chuck Gentry, baritone sax; Ian Bernard, piano; Howard Roberts, guitar; Red Mitchell, bass; Mel Lewis, drums.
Recorded at United Recorders, Hollywood, September 24, 1959
Tracks #13,15,18,19: Don Fagerquist, trumpet; Vincent De Rosa, French horn; Harry Klee, alto sax; Abe Most, clarinet, alto sax; Harry Klee, bass clarinet, tenor sax; Chuck Gentry, clarinet, baritone sax; Ian Bernard, piano; Howard Roberts, guitar; Red Mitchell, bass; Larry Bunker, drums.
Recorded at United Recorders, Hollywood, September 29, 1959
Tracks #20,22,23,24: Same personnel.
Recorded at United Recorders, Hollywood, October 1, 1959
Original cover designs: Paul Bacon / Braeren-Lewine
Liner notes: George Frazier / Dave Garroway
Original recordings produced by Mike Conner (#1-12) and Jack Lewis (#13-24)
This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Mono / Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"I don’t know where Fresh Sound Records finds these singers, but they bring out some obscure beauties. Connie Russell mixed a career of film, radio and TV along with a sultry singing career. She also was used in overdubbing actresses that delivered a tune, such as Claire Trevor in the 1942 film Crossroads. Here, she’s teamed with a couple orchestras in the late 50s, and uses her husky and come hither voice in excellent form.
You sure can’t argue with the musicians in the bands, which included Karry Klee, Abe Most, Howard Roberts, Frank Rosolino, Mel Lewis and Larry Bunker. Russel delivers a richly exotic and exciting “Caravan” and shadowy “Angel Eyes” while glowing with bedroom eyes on “You’re My Thrill” and “I Wanna Be Loved” on the 1958 session with orchestra and strings.
The smaller band in 1959 swings a bit more, as she saunters across the stage on “Close our Eyes” and “The Touch of Your Lips.” She revisits vaudeville piece “All I Do Is Dream of You” with long eye lashes, and greets you at the door in her Teddy on “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” This lady could make dry ice sweat!"
George W. Harris (October 3, 2016) http://www.jazzweekly.com