Joanie Sommers (vcl), Marty Paich, Tommy Oliver, Neal Hefti, Bob Florence (arr, cond), Conte Candoli, Stu Williamson, Jack Sheldon (tp), Frank Rosolino (tb), Art Pepper (as), Bud Shank (as, fl), Jimmy Rowles (p), Shelly Manne (d)
Reference: FSRCD 771_2
Bar code: 8427328607711
Young and charming Joanie Sommers was still a teenager when she signed for Warner Bros Records. It was 1959, the company was newly-formed and Joanie was barely 19, but she emerged, in the words of herrecord company, as the greatest singing discovery in the last fifteen years. Her swinging debut albumPositively the Most!included a brace of standards that she wrapped up in winning style, and it led her to start out on the road to singing stardom. The following years brought a remarkable series of equally successful ventures, among them a number of singles and several LPs, including two excellent jazz-oriented albums, The Voice of the Sixties! and For Those Who Think Young, both recorded in 1961.
On these Warner Bros albums she is as good on her rhythm tunes as she is on her warm readings of ballads. Efectively supported by orchestras conducted by some of the most in-demand Hollywood arrangersMarty Paich, Tommy Oliver, Neal Hefti, and Bob Florenceand featuring such stellar soloists as Art Pepper, Jack Sheldon, Frank Rosolino, and Bud Shank, she combined youthful vitality, cool and fiery, with a tasteful vocal form whose broad appeal embraced both jazz and hip pop fans alike.
"Para los no tan avezados, Joanie Sommers (Buffalo, 1941) era al menos la intérprete de 'Dont Pity Me', una vibrante pieza de Pop-Soul de esas que se quedan en la memoria de cualquiera que la haya escuchado un par de veces. Sommers, más allá del capítulo referido, fue una cantante que osciló entre el jazz y la canción popular. La suya era una voz de timbre agradable, sin grandes pretesiones, que tenía la capacidad de hacer suyos títulos del cancionero americano con suma facilidad. Tuvo la suerte, gracias al respaldo de Warner, de contar con arreglistas y directores de orquesta como el prestigioso Marty Paich o el intimista Neal Hefti. Con ellos llevó a cabo álbumes como los aquí incluidos, grabados todos ellos en Hollywood de 1959 a 1961.
Rafa Martinez -Agosto 7, 2013
Cultura/s (La Vanguardia)
"If youve ever even HEARD of vocalist Joanie Sommers, its because of that stupid pop song from the 60s she did, and I even hate to prejudice you by telling you what it wasJohnny Get Angry !! Please hear me out!! Before she went pop she put out a handful of incredibly hot jazz albums with arrangements and orchestras lead by Marty Paich, Tommy Oliver, Neal Hefti and Bob Florence. Getting a bit more forgiving? How about orchestras that include(drum roll)Art Pepper, Buddy Collette, Ted Nash, Conte/Pete Condoli, Jimmy Rowles, Mel Lewis, Jack Sheldon, Red Callender, Frank Rosolino and Bud Shank? Are we friends yet?
Obviously, none of this would mean anything if she couldnt carry a tune. Let me tell ya- on this two disc set of sessions from 1959-61 shes got a voice that melds the bop of an Anita ODay but with the emotion and energy of a Dinah Washington. Youre not going to believe she can dance with a swinging ditty like I Like the Likes of You or That Old Devil Moon and make it sound fresh and vibrant. Her take of My Heart Belongs to Daddy is going to make your head spin, and she coos with the best on Just Squeeze Me. Whether its a show tune like A Wonderful Guy or a novelty such as Hard Hearted Hannah the mix of bel canto, humor and joi de voi is infectious. The lightness and subtlety of Paichs arrangements on material like Round Midnight and Hey Jealous Lover serve as spicy dressings for her fresh and crisp meld of delicious flavors. The pre-rock tone in her voice gives away that a style like this will never come again as almost all modern singers have been infected to some extant with the yeast of rock and indie groaning. Listen to what real singing actually can achieve! Youll fall in love with jazz vocals again. Get it NOW NOW NOW!!!"
Steve W. Harris -Jazz Weekly (June 13, 2013)
-Positively the Most!
"Joanie Sommers was not so modestly heralded on the front album jacket as "the greatest discovery in singing...in the last fifteen years," and her debut did reveal a vivacious vocalist exhibiting a tremendous amount of depth for someone still in her teens. Released in 1960, Positively the Most consists of a dozen Great American Songbook entries with distinct arrangements by the top-shelf talents of Tommy Oliver and Marty Paich. Rather than attempting to market Sommers as an old-style balladeer, the smart jazz and pop scores not only update the familiar titles, but likewise provide the perfect point of departure for the singer and her audience alike. The opener, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," is one of two items from the Cole Porter catalog. Her frisky vocals are matched by the uptempo instrumentation as she exudes the lyrical double entendre, while maintaining a mature dignity. Sommers playfully glides over Paich's samba-tinged "Something I Dreamed Last Night" with ease and just enough room to show off her considerable range of interpretive skills. Tommy Oliver's dramatic approach to the Rodgers & Hammerstein staple "It Might as Well Be Spring" is a prime opportunity for the singer to reveal herself in the "torch" tradition. The organic fluidity in Sommers' delivery takes on a storybook quality rooted in improv, yet steeped in the drama inherent in songs from the stage and screen. This is not surprising, as it had initially been written for the musical remake of the 1945 film State Fair. Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning to See the Light," is a return to a jazzier big-band sound. Sommers' subtle girlish charm simply glistens against the sassy brass interjections and brisk counter-melodies. Conversely, the slow and tempting "Heart and Soul" stands out from the pack with plenty of Sommers' introspective intimacy.
Much of Paich's true artistry lies in his uncanny ability to present performers at their best -- vocalists and instrumentalists alike. A prime example can be heard as Sommers mixes sensitivity with a profundity of character, ultimately conjuring up the likes of Billie Holiday and Lena Horne. She switches the mood into high-energy overdrive, closing out the first side of the LP with a rousing rendition of "I Like the Likes of You." Another distinction occurs as a wonderfully warm and inviting "What's New" predates and arguably foreshadows the stylish collaboration between Linda Ronstadt and Nelson Riddle some two decades on. The second Cole Porter powerhouse is a rowdy "So in Love," as Sommers keeps a lid on the hot-steppin' proceedings, sporting buoyant yet even-tempered leads. Her sultry side resurfaces on "Oh But I Do," while "Old Devil Moon" is a highlight as the hypnotic cha-cha rhythm churns beneath Sommers' potent phrasing. "Just Squeeze Me" bestows Paich an opportunity to augment Sommers in the context of an Ellington classic. There are hints of Sarah Vaughan and once again Lena Horne as Sommers coos her way through the selection. Positively the Most wraps up with a full-throttled and wailing "Just Too Young for the Blues" that is perhaps a reference to the artist's dearth of time on the planet thus far. However, as evidenced on this long-player, she unquestionably possessed talents well beyond her years."
Lindsay Planer -All Music Guide
-The 'Voice' of the Sixties!
"Joanie Sommers' second Warner LP teams the singer with arranger Neal Hefti, an inspired pairing that yields some of the most vivacious music of her career. Although the album title trumpets Sommers as the voice of her decade, the material here draws heavily on the standards of previous generations, as exemplified by "I'm Old Fashioned." Hefti's inspired backings nevertheless boast an energy that's decidedly modern, staking out territory that's somewhere between pop and jazz, with the end result perfectly complementing Sommers' crystal-clear vocals."
Jason Ankeny -All Music Guide
-For Those Who Think Young
"For Those Who Think Young is divided into two halves, with one side each of studio big-band recordings and similar live recordings made in 1961. Sommers begins with "A Lot of Livin' to Do" from Bye Bye Birdie (her version of "One Boy" from the same musical was her first charting hit) and covers a dozen standards and show tunes such as "'Round Midnight," "Blues in the Night," and "I Feel Pretty." The live tracks are beautifully recorded and the performances accomplished (if a little cutesy at times), but this adult-oriented vocal music is far removed from "Johnny Get Angry," the teen hit with which she is most strongly associated. For Those Who Think Young didn't chart and produced no hits, but it does reveal, in a "serious" context, the capabilities of an artist often considered a female teen idol."
Greg Adams -All Music Guide
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