Janet Blair, Claudia Thompson (vcl), Lou Busch (dir), Don Fagerquist (tp), Joe Howard, Harry Betts, Ed Kusby, George Roberts (tb), Benny Carter (as), Paul Horn, Ted Nash (fl, as), Bud Shank (fl), Jimmy Rowles, Paul Smith, Arnold Ross (p), Frank Flynn (vib), Tommy Tedesco, Barney Kessel (g), Joe Mondragon, Mike Rubin, Red Mitchell (b), Irv Cottler, Shelly Manne, Alvin Stoller, Dick Shanahan (d), Nino Rossi (cello)
Reference: FSR V118 CD
Bar code: 8427328641180
IN GREAT STEREO SOUND!!!
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
Janet Blair (1921-2007) was a big-band singer who became a popular American film and television actress. The 1959 album “Flame Out!,” marked her first appearance on record since her days as vocalist with the Hal Kemp Orchestra in the 1940s. Janet’s naturally beautiful voice and great feel for the lyrics, brought new light to some of the best “heart songs” of her era. All musical scores were arranged and conducted by pianist Lou Busch, who had also been with the Kemp crew. Through the adept use of orchestral sounds, he managed to engineer a change of pace between songs. Some have a light, tonal modern jazz background in a Mancini-influenced style; others, a strikingly beautiful string sound; and still others employ the sparse feel of a “blues” piano and a lonesome trumpet blowing “out there somewhere.”
Goodbye to Love
The “voice you can’t forget” belongs to Claudia Thompson… it is haunting… misty… soul-searching. Claudia’s song styling—with the help of excellent control and breathless phrasing—weaves a spell of bittersweet love. She sings cleanly with good diction, and she’s capable of creating and sustaining a mood effectively. Her ballad singing is always warm and knowing, and she handles them with tenderness and restraint. Her talents combine smoothly with the effective accompaniment of such jazzmen as Barney Kessel, Red Mitchell and Benny Carter, who do much to enhance the album’s appeal and form an excellent frame for the singer. This is an unforgettable listening experience.
“In its mission to rescue long forgotten or never widely known or appreciated singers from undeserved neglect, the Fresh Sound label is now not so much mining a rich seam as it is casting a light on to unassuming worlds which, while they will always register in the seemingly ever buoyant nostalgia market, still have an effect which resonates in these fraught times for the ways in which they offer fresh insights into often now venerable songs.
The original liner notes to Flame Out! are reproduced in this release, and from them we learn that Janet Blair was a vocalist with the Hal Kemp band in the 1940s, which affords only scant insight into how she came by the interpretive wealth she brings to the album’s hardly under-exposed songs, the high profiles of which have the effect of casting a bright light on Blair’s individuality, with her clear diction and avoidance of emoting making her reading of Glad To Be Unhappy a nice vocal counterpart to Paul Desmond’s alto sax take on it. She does nuance too, and again with a fine balance, on I Get Along Without You Very Well, where Lou Busch’s orchestration raises the interpretation to a level that would have made the late Alan Dell’s ears prick up.
Thompson was once billed as the “voice you can’t forget” apparently, so the irony of her appearing in a series entitled The Best Voices Time Forgot isn’t lost on yer actual jazz hack. For once there’s reason to believe the hype too, up to a point, because Thompson sings in a manner both controlled and capable of getting something out of a lyric. Her lack of showiness is best exemplified by the none-more-venerable Body And Soul, where her accompaniment is tellingly limited to Kessel and Mitchell.
The fact that overall Thompson blends so seamlessly with Kessel, Mitchell and the likes of Benny Carter and Alvin Stoller says much about her vocal sensibility, and in common with Blair she possesses one of those voices that fit the Fresh Sound billing very nicely.”
Nic Jones (February 21, 2020)
"It completely amazes me how many fantastic singers were around a half century ago, and how so many of them have become overlooked. Take my advice; before you plop down some money for today’s singers who all sound like everyone else, give a listen to these ladies who sound fresher, swing harder and have more style and sass than any dozen around today.
Fresh Sound’s latest of The Best Voices Time Forgot features two ladies from 1959. The first is a husky voiced Janet Blair backed by an orchestra arranged and conducted by Lou Busch, featuring allstars like Jimmy Rowles/p, Paul Horn/fl-as, Bud Shank/fl-as, Tommy Tedesco/g and Shelly Manne/dr. Blair floates through the flutes on noir classics “Get Out Of Town” and a sultry “Glad To Be Unhappy” while she swaggers through “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me” and is sleek as she tiptoes around Manne on “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” Intimate and late-voiced Claudia Thompson joins with Barney Kessel/g, Benny Carter/as, Ted Nash/as, Paul Smith/p, Red Mitchell/b and Alvin Stoller/dr for a seductive “Fan Me,” velvety “The Morning After” and too close for comfort “Body And Soul.” Who let her off her leash?"
George W. Harris (December 16, 2019)