This CD has been replaced by its recent reissue as part of the Phoenix label. Reference #131507
This release contains the complete original albums "The Nearness of You" (Emarcy) and "Youve Got a Date with the Blues" (Metro Jazz). These two LPs present Merrill in splendid form backed by swinging combos featuring stars like Bill Evans, Kenny Dorham, Bobby Jaspar, Oscar Pettiford, Milt Hinton and Jo Jones.
Although she was well-known among fellow musicians, Helen Merrill was not a star like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald or even Dinah Washington at the time these two albums were made. She only gained greater fame after she started touring Europe shortly after the two albums compiled here were made.
01. BYE BYE BLACKBIRD (2:57)
02. WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT (4:48)
03. I REMEMBER YOU (2:10)
04. SOFTLY, AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE (3:21)
05. DEARLY BELOVED (2:07)
06. SUMMERTIME (3:28)
07. ALL OF YOU (3:33)
08. I SEE YOUR FACE BEFORE ME (2:41)
09. LET ME LOVE YOU (2:49)
10. THE NEARNESS OF YOU (4:04)
11. THIS TIME THE DREAMS ON ME (2:21)
12. JUST IMAGINE (3:23)
13. THE BLUES [from BLACK, BROWN & BEIGE] (5:24)
14. AM I BLUE? (3:35)
15. BLUE GARDENIA (3:22)
16. YOUVE GOT A DATE WITH THE BLUES (3:31)
17. THE THRILL IS GONE (3:38)
18. WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG (3:11)
19. BLUES IN MY HEART (3:41)
20. VOUS MEBLOUISSEZ (YOU GO TO MY HEAD) (3:25)
21. LORSQUE TU MEMBRASSES (JUST SQUEEZE ME) (2:49)
22. THE MEANING OF THE BLUES (3:10)
23. SIGNING OFF (1:32)
Total time: 75:10 min.
Tracks #1-12 from "The Nearness of You" (EmArcy MG 36134).
Tracks #13-23 from "You've Got A Date With The Blues" (Metro Jazz E 1010).
Personnel on "The Nearness of You" :
Tracks #2, 7, 9, 10 & 12 features Helen Merrill (vcl), Bobby Jaspar (fl), Bill Evans (p), George Russell (g), Oscar Pettiford (b) and Jo Jones (d). Recorded in New York, on February 21, 1958.
Tracks #1, 3-6, 8 & 11: Helen Merrill (vcl), Mike Simpson (fl), Dick Marx (p), Fred Rundquist (g), Johnny Frigo (b) and Jerry Slosberg (d). Recorded in Chicago, December 18 & 19, 1957.
Personnel on "You've Got A Date With The Blues" :
Helen Merrill (vcl), Kenny Dorham (tp), Jerome Richardson or Frank Wess (fl, ts), Jimmy Jones (p, arr), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton or Al Hall (b) and Johnny Cresci (d). Recorded in New York, 1959.
-The Nearness of You
"Alternately breathy and atmospheric or bright and dynamic, Helen Merrill often reaches a bit too far on The Nearness of You, though her distinct style and strong personality may be refreshing to vocal fans tired of the standard versions of standards. Leading two separate sextets - the rather more famous one, with Bill Evans, Bobby Jaspar, Oscar Pettiford, and Jo Jones, appears on only four tracks - Merrill breezes over a raft of mid-tempo standards, with several detours through high-drama territory. Her powerful voice occasionally gets her into trouble, breaking from breathy to brash and often occupying a rather awkward middle ground. Still, her ebullient tone and playful way with "Bye, Bye Blackbird," "Let Me Love You," and "All of You" is a treat to hear, and flutist Mike Simpson cuts it up behind her as well. Merrill really shines on the darker material, with just a plucked bass to accompany her on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," and a similarly spare accompaniment on a long, drawn-out tribute to "Summertime" and "I See Your Face Before Me."
John Bush -All Music guide
-You've Got A Date With The Blues
"Helen Merrill dates are always something special. This set for Metrojazz, matches the cool-toned yet inwardly heated singer with an all-star sextet arranged by Quincy Jones and featuring solos by trumpeter Kenny Dorham and either Frank Wess or Jerome Richardson on flute and tenor. The repertoire includes versions of "You Go to My Head" and "Just Squeeze Me" sung in French, a couple of numbers by producer Leonard Feather, Duke Ellington's "The Blues From Black, Brown and Beige," and a haunting rendition of "The Thrill Is Gone." Recommended."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide