Reference: FSRCD 694_2
Bar code: 8427328606943
Ethel Ennis was blessed with a remarkable voice and an innate jazz feel that she poured into everything she sang. Relatively unknown when she made these late Fifties recordings, her acclaimed debut album, Sings Lullabies For Losers, spread her fame beyond the small East Coast club circuit and her hometown following in Baltimore, where she was born in 1932. Made with a heavyweight jazz quartet that included pianist Hank Jones and drummer Kenny Clarke, it signaled the emergence of a major singing talent.
She moved to Capitol, with which she made her next two albums, Change of the Scenery and Have You Forgotten. For these the label wheeled out the big guns Neal Hefti arranged and conducted the orchestra for a well-judged programme of swingers and torch songs on the first, while on the second Have You Forgotten? she sings in front of three different backgrounds a large string section, a full brass section and a rhythm section plus vibes and guitar, conducted and arranged by Sid Feller. Throughout, Ethel Ennis handles the diverse settings with remarkable aplomb, with a sure touch for the nuances of feeling and phrasing and singing with a maturity beyond her years.
"Ethel Ennis was blessed with a remarkable voice and an innate jazz feel that she poured into everything she sang. Oddly enough, however, her first professional jobs were as a pianist. I never thought of singing in a club, only in church. Then one night they asked me to sing. I was well received and decided to hang up and shingle as a singer. She made her professional debut in Philadelphia in 1950 on the Paul Whiteman Amateur show.
When these recordings were made, Ethel Ennis was relativelly unknown, except to a few American jazz connoisseurs devoted of the small club circuit up and down the Atlantic Coast; and her loyal local following in Baltimore, where she was born in 1932.
Her skillful and well-controlled phrasing is heard in this collection of songs she recorded during her early days. The first CD features her acclaimed 1955 debut album for Jubilee Records Sings Lullabies For Losers,featuring Hank Jones and Kenny Clarkewith the addition of I've Got You Under My Skin as a bonus track, and also a rare single she recorded for Atco Records.
The second CD features the two excellent albums she recorded for Capitol Records in 1957 and 1958. On the first, Change of the Scenery, shes accompanied by an orchestra directed by Neal Hefti, who is also responsible of the warmly pulsing arrangements of an exceptionally good program of rhythm tunes and torch songs.
On the second Have You Forgotten? she sings in front of three different backgrounds a large string section, a full brass section and a rhythm section plus vibes and guitar, with arrangements and conducting by Sid Feller. With these albums she proved she was an artist of taste, with a striking musical talent.
Although critical acclaim was not immediately followed by wider public success, word was getting round about her talent. In 1958 she was hired to tour with Benny Goodmans orchestra for a European tour.
Then, in July 1964, after 14 years on the small club circuit, the 31-year-old Ethel Ennis was discovered, after she appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival with such stars as Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck.
In those days, she was variously described her as a second Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan or Peggy Lee, but she scorned any obvious labels, and described herself as a progressive pop singer. I hate to sing any song exactly as its written. Thats progressive. But I dont want to be so far out that people dont understand it, she said.
It was a credo she was to follow all her life. And its a credo amply demonstrated, with the taste, good judgement and the artistry with which she used her exceptional voice, in this collection of albums from the beginnings of her career on record."
No customer reviews yet. Login to leave your impressions!