Dori Howard, Janet Brace (vcl), Don Elliott (mellophone, tp, vib, vcl, arr, cond), Eddie Costa (p, vib, org, arr, cond), Bob Corwin (p), Mundell Lowe, Barry Galbraith, Joe Puma (g), Milt Hinton, Vinnie Burke, Ernie Furtado (b), Osie Johnson, Don McLean, Jimmy Campbell (d)
Reference: FSR V103 CD
Bar code: 8427328641036
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The Best Voices Time Forgot
Collectible Albums by Top Female Vocalists
· Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Stereo/Hi-Fi Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Dori Howard Sings
The husky timbre of Dori’s voice, her delayed-action vibrato, and her swinging approach to a tune are what one would expect from just about any great female jazz singer in the Fifties. Leading the quintets here were two top instrumentalists, Don Elliot and Eddie Costa, acclaimed by jazz followers everywhere.
“Jane Brace looks like a schoolgirl lost in a nitery,” wrote a reviewer. Janet owned a voice capable of handling any dynamics that the situation called for—an instrument that allowed her to turn the end of a smoky, tender phrase into a kind of vocal overdrive. Her soft, intimate quality comes through handsomely thanks to excellent backing by the Don Elliott Quintet.
"Once again Jordi Pujol of Fresh Sound has come up with two really good jazz singers from the 1950s, surely long forgotten.
The first 12 tracks are from a Dot LP by Dori Howard released in 1959. She has a sultry voice, very well fitted to jazz expression and is accompanied on these selections by Don Elliott and a swinging rhythm team with Eddie Costa alternating on piano and vibes.
You could say this programme is just a good singer offering standard tunes with some of the best jazz and session men in the business. True, but it is the sheer quality of the singing and playing that hits the listener. Elliott is on top form on vibes, mellophone or trumpet and Ms Howard is right there, on the beat with a full and vibrant voice.
Then we come to Janet Brace. She was excellent, with a warm, vibrant voice and a natural feel for jazz singing. Slightly husky at times, she adapts her approach to each selection. Once again almost all her material consists of solid standards of the Great American Songbook variety but they are, of course, timeless and will be used as long as jazz exists as an art form.
She is particularly effective on Skylark, which she takes slowly but with feeling. Personal versions of Easy Street and It Could Happen To You swing along well, aided and abetted by flowing contributions from the likes of Elliott, Barry Galbraith on guitar and drummer Jimmy Campbell.
Both these singers are top quality and the insert card informs us that there are another four “unknown” female singers in the series, titled The Best Voices Time Forgot.
Listening to music like this makes me think Harold Macmillan wasn’t so far out when he said we never had it so good round about this time – not that I ever had him down as a jazz fan!"
Derek Ansell (April 27, 2019)
"There are so many singers who recorded an album or two, or a few singles, or both, but never achieved widespread fame. Of course, there were many factors that could account for that, both with singers from yesteryear and young singers who are currently recording. These include timing, competition, changing popular tastes, record label promotion, management, personal decisions about sustaining a performing career, and luck. Just because a singer never made it big does not mean they were untalented, and all of the singers represented here are a case in point.
The third twofer has albums by Dori Howard and Janet Brace. I had never heard anything by Ms. Howard before listening to “Dori Howard Sings,” in which she is accompanied by the Don Elliott Quintet on six songs, and by the Eddie Costa Quintet on six others. Of all the six singers on these compilations, Ms. Howard is the most versatile, singing in the largest variety of styles and with varying registers. Her voice can be light and almost sweet at times; playful and sophisticated at others; a bit sandpapery and jazzy on some songs, and bluesy on others. The arrangements are inventive and really move, with a lot of vibraphone, which is an instrument that both Mr. Elliott and Mr. Costa were fond of. “The Moon was Yellow” is a great start to the proceedings. “Lonely Love” is a song I had never heard before, and it is surprising it never became well-known. Its Latin-inspired arrangement by Don Elliott fits perfectly. Mr. Elliott also provides an atmospheric arrangement for the moody and romantic “You’re Not Alone,” which is another song which was unknown to me. Ms. Howard died in 1982.
“Special Delivery” by Janet Brace is the second of these six albums that I was previously familiar with. I purchased a Japanese CD over 15 years ago, and was completely taken with it from the first listen. She is accompanied by the Don Elliott Quintet. Ms. Brace has a husky voice and sings in a strong, straightforward style. She sings with emotion, but it is not forced or affected. If a singer could be described as having a style that is plainspoken, it would be Ms. Brace. Her rendition of “Time after Time” is my favourite of this song. There is not a performance on this album that I do not like. As with the songs on which he accompanied Ms. Howard, Mr. Elliott’s arrangements are inventive but do not distract, and the vibraphone appears on some of the selections. For some reason the song order is slightly different than on the original album, and here the last song is “I’m a Person Too” by Leonard Bernstein, and is the fifth song of “I Hate Music!: A Cycle of Five Kid Songs,” which he composed in 1943.
Although this was Ms. Brace’s only album, she recorded a few singles for Decca Records a couple years earlier, including the first version of “Teach Me Tonight.” Ms. Brace appears to have left show business not long after this album was released. In later years, she lived in Florida and then Costa Rica, before returning to Florida to live with her daughter until her death around 1990.
David Colp (April, 2019)
In Tune International Magazine
Ringer of the Week ★★★★★
"If cool-toned voices in the vein of June Christy, Anita O'Day and Chris Connor are your thing, you are set for a series of discs made for your ears, as Fresh Sound Records has uncovered a cache of ladies that were under-recorded, under-appreciated and under-exposed during their time, but have been brought back into the light to be re-evaluated. Each singer is surrounded by some top notch jazz artists and arrangers, with names like Bill Evans and Gil Evans just for starters to whet your palate. Put on your seat belts for this ride!
This third disc starts off with Dori Howard (who looks a lot like the current artist Pink) in a 1959 recording with a pair of hip tems lead by Don Eliott on mellophone, trumpet and vibes or Eddie Costa/p-vb-org, with Mundell Lowe/g, Milt Hinton/b and Osie Johnson/dr. The exotic and modern sounds work well for Howard on an exciting “The Moon Was Yellow” and she’s sassy as all get out on “Here I Am In Love Again.” She’s warm and subtoned for “My One and Only Love” and pairs well with Lowe for a gorgeous “How Long Has This Been Going On” and “Mood Indigo.”
Janet Brace brings her Chris Conner’d voice to a 1956 NYC event, again lead by Don Elliott’s Quintet, and she’s rich and clear on “Time After Time” and does a gorgeous wordless intro to “Skylark.” She bounces to Elliott’s vibes on “It Could Happen To You” and is reflective with pianist Bob Corwin on the obscure “I’m a Person Too” whereas she’s easy and bluesy for a muted “Easy Street.”
For each album of the serie, there are excellent liner notes to provide the background for the singers, explaining the paths and projection of their short careers. Albums like these make you wonder why certain vocalists “make it” and others have to wait half a century to finally be appreciated. You won’t be disappointed by these discoveries."
George W. Harris (February 25, 2019)