Reference: FSRCD 795
Bar code: 8427328607957
40-page booklet including biography, rare photos, and complete discography (matrix & catalog numbers, personnel, location and recording date). All tracks in this 5-CD set appear in chronological order of recording. This collection contains 112 songs. 72 of them from the Decca albums, and 40 were issued only as singles which, for the most part, had been previously unissued on CD.
Jeri has everything looks, personality, and her choice of material is great. She doesnt play or sing the ordinary overworked things. Man, she sells! Not since I first heard Sarah Vaughan have I been so impressed by a new singer.
Miles Davis (1949)
In the midst of the Terrible Tempest of Tortured Sounds that are being heard on records these days, Jeris soft, searching style can be considered a welcome haven in the storm.
Mel Mandel, Down Beat (July 2, 1952)
The voice of Jeri Southern is a sound thats hard to forget. As former Times arts editor Charles Champlin recalled: That smoky sound and that special way with lyrics made her just perfect for intimate clubs. She was one of the true originals.
Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times
(August 8, 1991)
"Heres a vocalist that made a big hit in the scene for a short while, and then got out while the gettin was good. Jeri Southern, Nebraska-bred, started as a pianist but once people heard her hauntingly melancholy voice, her path was set. This essential 5 cd collection puts together all of her material from her key years, before moving to Roulette, Capitol and then finally leaving the music scene in 1961 in disgust.
While just about everything here has been available before, never have you been able to have everything during this period in recorded chronological order. Besides the music, you get a sumptuous 40 page booklet that includes her intriguing biography, an exhaustive discography (of her albums and singles-complete with matrix and catalogue numbers) a list of musicians and a collection of rare photographs of Ms Southern during various stages of her life and career. This collection puts all of the music and information together like no other project for this under-appreciated artist. During her short career, nobody except maybe Billie Holiday could come close to consistently sounding as marvelously desultory and lonely as she.
Just to give you an idea, you dont get to until half way through the second disc here until you finally get to a song that is halfway upbeat, a handful of ditties with her own trio on The Gypsy in My Soul and Its De-Lovely. The collection starts off with her most famous piece, the inforgettable You Better Go Now and it also includes the hits Someone To Watch Over Me, and Joey. Besides singing with her own trio some of the time she teams of with guitarist Dave Barbour's sensitive trio for material such as an inspiring Evrytime We Say Goodbye. Mostly, however, shes with orchestras conducted by the likes of Sy Oliver, Sonny Burke, Victor Young, Pete Rugulo and Ralph Burns. The songs? Well, 95% of the time its about Love Lost, Love Wanted, Love REALLY Lost, Love NEVER GONNA GET, Love BEING LOST, and Love WANTING TO LOSE.
The Big Bands include some real all stars, such as Hymie Schertzer/as (who is heartbreaking on his solos), George Barnes/g, George Duvivier/b, Harry Klee/as, Alvin Stoller/dr, Buddy Collete/as, Jimmy Rowles/p and Nick Fatool/dr, so youve got some guys with punch. Shes quite lyrical on the piano herself, but what youre going to take away from this collection is her ability to breath out emotion in an understated yet poignant way that few could rival. Tunes like My Ideal and Am I Blue sound utterly convincing, and when she goes to obscure pieces like Candlelight Conversation Youre Gonna Flip, Mom or Whats My Name she makes them work like a brand new recipe. Her treatment of standards are all taken down a few hues, even making Just In Time sound almost regretful. She makes Janis Ian sound insouciant in comparison. If youre ready to be taken where few people dare, Jeri Southerns voice, style and attitude will make you remember why artists are called artists. This is Blue Period singing at its apotheosis. Misery never sounded so good."
George W. Harris -October 7, 2013
"Southern was a piano player who added singing to her act and wound up recording steadily just as the LP blossomed and the demand for female vocalists spiked. In her earliest vocals for Decca in 1951 and '52, you can almost hear the basis for Chet Baker's casual, sighing singing style.
The retrospectives by Fresh Sound provide a well-rounded sense of why each singer was special. In The Warm Singing Style of Jeri Southern: The Complete Decca Years 1951-1957, a five-CD set, we not only hear Southern's voice mature over time but she's also backed by a range of orchestras and ensembles of varying sizes. You Better Go Nowher first recording in 1951remains breathtaking and was never really topped by Southern. Arranged by Tutti Camarata, the song set the stage for an entire generation of jazz vocalists who sounded like they were singing from their beds. Other set gems include When I Fall in Love, Call Me Tonight, Just Got to Have Him Around, The Man That Got Away, An Occasional Man and I'm Gonna Try Me Some Love.
Southern was best when she was committed to a lyric and put her back into it. Too often she was placed in treacly settings by Decca that made her sound like she was singing Silent Night over and over again. By far, the set's best tracks feature Southern accompanying herself on piano. On songs like It's De-Lovely, I'll Take Romance and Let's Fall in Love, you hear Southern's lush piano introductions and smart chord voicings. Also special are her tracks on piano with the Dave Barbour Trio including Miss Johnson Phoned Again Today, That Old Devil Called Love and The Very Thought of You. Listening to them now, you realize that a small group was all Southern needed to put her charm across."
Marc Myers -October 1, 2013
"This boxset is absolutely superb, and should help Jeri Southern get more recognition as one of the greatest singers of all time. Her voice immediately grabs you...she has perhaps the most sensitive phrasing of all the singers of her time. Jeri accompanies herself on piano on many tracks, and even plays guitar on at least one track! That is rare among jazz singers.
This five CD set, as stated, includes 40 songs from singles that were not previously issued on CD or LP. But, unlike many singers of her time, whose singles were pop throw-away novelties, most of Jeri's singles were works of art worthy of being "album tracks". Now, finally they are available! Even the albums are hard to get on CD at a reasonable price. This is a great way to get it all.
The graphic presentation here is superb. A slipcase with three "triple fold" digipacks holding five CDs (on plastic holders). The 40 page book is also superb, with many rare photos and a detailed chronology/discography [...]
If you are new to the great singers, jump right in and buy this! Don't miss this one!"
Kevin J. Roberts (August 6, 2013)