Linda Lawson (vcl), Marty Paich, Henry Mancini (dir), Jack Sheldon, Stu Williamson (tp), Frank Rosolino (tb), Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Ted Nash, Med Flory (saxes), Jimmy Rowles (p), Bill Pitman, Al Hendrickson, Bob Bain (g), Joe Mondragon (b), Mel Lewis, Alvin Stoller (d)
Reference: FSRCD 784
Bar code: 8427328607841
Born Linda Gloria Spaziani in Ann Arbor, Mich in 1936, Linda Lawson began her music career at the top, singing at The Sands in Las Vegas and, in 1957, making singles for the Verve label with an orchestra arranged and conducted by no less than Henry Mancini. She seemed set to make a considerable impact in music, but instead decided to focus on an acting career and by 1960 was busy in movies and on TV, where her rising profile led to Introducing Linda Lawson, her debut album as a singer.
Recorded in 1960, with an orchestra arranged and conducted by the gifted Marty Paich and packed with the finest West Coast jazz talent, her performance suggested that a successful career in music was hers for the taking. But acting remained her first love and these recordings are the only examples of her notable musical ability. In them she combined the highly complementary skills of singing and acting, splendidly uniting them to tackle the range of high-quality and demanding material chosen for these sessions. That she did it with persuasive aplomb is abundantly clear from the results.
Notes on "Introducing Linda Lawson":
"Linda Lawson doesn't have a very strong voice, but it is expressive and within its limits and the jazz settings arranged by Marty Paich. Here she delivers a generally satisfying, sometimes beautiful pop-jazz album. The repertory includes "You Don't Know What Love Is," co-authored by Gene DePaul, Cole Porter's "Easy to Love," and Bobby Troup's "Meaning of the Blues." Her intonation is occasionally questionable, particularly on the numbers that would have constituted side one of the original LP, and especially when she reaches for certain high notes, but even at those moments as on "Easy to Love" the band carries her, and the arrangement and the overall ensemble work. She'll skate past a number like that and then perform splendidly on "Meaning of the Blues" and "Mood Indigo," where it's impossible to fault anything she does. Jimmy Rowles (piano); Bud Shank (alto); Med Flory (baritone sax); Bill Perkins (tenor sax); Al Porcino, Stu Williamson, and Jack Sheldon (trumpets); Frank Rosolino (trombone); Bill Pitman (guitar); Joe Modragon (bass); and Mel Lewis (drums) make a superb band, although one wishes that Lawson and her producer DeAngelis hadn't followed up the hot, swinging "Like Young" (the best number on the album) with the string-laden "Hi Lili-Hi-Lo," even though she does a beautiful job with the latter number as well. The bluesy "Make the Man Love Me" and the gently swinging, high-flying "Up Pops Love" restore the mood. The original album is rarer than hen's teeth, but Fresh Sound records has re-released Introducing Linda Lawson on vinyl LP and as a CD, with beautiful sound and a careful reproduction of the original LP cover."
Bruce Eder -All Music Guide