Gloria Smyth, Helyne Stewart (vcl), Don Sleet, Jack Sheldon (tp), Frank Rosolino (tb), Art Pepper (as), Teddy Edwards, Daniel Jackson (ts), Les McCann, Ronnie Ball, Joe Castro, Terry Trotter, Pete Jolly, Phineas Newborn (p), Leroy Vinnegar, Herbie Lewis, Jimmy Bond (b), Lenny McBrowne, Ron Jefferson, Billy Higgins, Al Levitt, Frank Butler, Milt Turner (d)
Reference: FSR V112 CD
Bar code: 8427328641128
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 Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
On Like Soul!, we can hear Gloria Smyth—a younger singer of boundless energy, with a warm and appealing feel for lyrics. She shows influences of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday, but happily for her, she is also sufficiently individual to escape most comparisons. Miss Smyth was no stranger to the nitery circuit, having worked Fack’s, San Francisco; Mister Kelly’s, Chicago; the Key Club, Minneapolis; and the Village Vanguard, New York. She sings with definite jazz feeling, and is backed by four distinct groups composed of some of the top jazz musicians from the West Coast: Teddy Edwards, Les McCann, Lennie McBrowne and the Ronnie Ball Trio. A happy atmosphere prevails on these fine sessions, all of which share a sense of mutual support and engagement by players on top of their game.
On the album Love Moods, Teddy Edwards’ uncluttered septet arrangements aimed to provide a comfortable setting for his protégé Helyne Stewart, a soulful, subtle singer whom Edwards admired from the first time he heard her. On this joyful debut shesings with a really lovely voice, swinging wonderfully on a set of well-known songs, backed by a superb group including three great horn players, trumpeter Jack Sheldon, trombonist Frank Rosolino, and altoist Art Pepper. For the remaining tracks, Edwards used his own quartet featuring the thoughtful pianist Phineas Newborn, along with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Milt Turner in a fine rhythm section which contributes significantly at key points to the success of the album.
"This release in Fresh Sound’s Best Voices Time Forgot series sees the pairing of two more overlooked albums from the late 50s and early 60s: Gloria Smyth’s Like Soul! and Helyne Stewart’s Love Moods.
The Gloria Smyth album, from World Pacific, is mixed – some of the uptempo tracks don’t sound that convincing, and although she has a forceful and strong voice, some of the inflections seem a little forced. I feel she is at her best on the slower ones and the ballads, and it is on these that her voice sounds more assured and controlled. She sings attractively on Sittin’ And Sighin’, on which she benefits from the presence of Teddy Edwards’ sensitive tenor accompaniment, and on I’ll Remember April, where both singer and saxophonist use some imaginative phrasing.
Helyne Stewart is a more rounded and stylish vocalist, with good range and accurate pitch, and a voice at times reminiscent of Dinah Washington. Once more Teddy Edwards is involved, both as arranger and as a featured soloist, with a quartet and an all-star septet that includes fellow West Coast players Frank Butler, Art Pepper, Jack Sheldon and Frank Rosolino.
Issued originally on Contemporary Records, the material is a strong selection of standards and well-known numbers and Stewart handles them well, with straightforward interpretations and good accompanying solos – Why Don’t You Do Right is an example in point. A fine follow-on from the Lil Green and Peggy Lee versions, this has blues-tinged contributions from Edwards and pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. How Deep Is The Ocean is notable for her warm and rich delivery and for Pete Jolly’s unobtrusive but soulful background piano, the higher keys riding the wave of the lush horn arrangement."
Matthew Wright (Septembert 8, 2019)
"Fresh Sound Records continues its brilliant idea of reissuing sessions from the 50s and 60s from female vocalists that underservedly got overlooked. It was a time when there was a surfeit of these ladies, and while it wasn’t due to the quality of their voice, style or music, simply got lost in the crowd. Take advantage of this second chance. You’re in for a treat!
The other single disc features a pair of swinging sessions, with the first one lead by Gloria Smyth, teamed in this 59-60 collection with hip Angelenos including Teddy Edwards/ts, Les McCann/-Terry Trotter-Joe Castro/p, Billy Higgins/dr and Leroy Vinnegar/b among others. Smyth is frisky on a torrid “Running Wild” and sassy on “Billy” while Edwards is blowing like there’s no tomorrow as he wails with Smyth on “I’ll Be Over” and swoons on “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You” along with an agonizing Castro. Smyth shows her influences of Vaughan and Fitzgerald throughout, but they are only influences, as she is her own person throughout, easy as pie on “Imagination” and hip on “Bye Bye Blackbird.” You’re gonna flip!
Helyne Stewart also teams up with some of LA’s finest during her 1961 album, with Jack Sheldon/tp, Frank Rosolino/tb, Art Pepper/as, Teddy Edwards/ts, Pete Jolly/p, Phineas Newborn/p, Leroy Vinnegar/b and Frank Butler/dr being just part of the muscular lineup. Stewarts got an earthy voice, swinging hard with Edwards on a white-knuckler of “This Can’t Be Love” and sweet as lemon pie with Pepper during “My Silent Love.” Sheldon is a perfect partner on a confident “Love Is Here To Stay” and she gets deep with Newborn and Edwards during “That Old Feeling” and “ This Heart Of Mine” and she shows her deep blue hues on “Why Don’t You Do Right” that is as greasy as Sunday Fried Chicken. Finger lickin’ good!"
George W. Harris (July 1, 2019)