Lucy Reed (vcl), Art Farmer (tp), Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Tommy Mitchell (b-tb), Romeo Penque (fl, Engh), Sol Schlinger (b-cl, bs), Bill Evans, Dick Marx, Don Abney, Gil Evans, Eddie Higgins (p), Howard Collins, John Gray (g), Bob Carter, Johnny Frigo, Bill Pemberton, Milt Hinton (b), Sol Gubin, George Russell (d), Harry Lookofsky (vln), Jack English (arr)
Reference: FSRCD 928
Bar code: 8427328609289
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Lucy (Lucille) Reed (1921-1998) began her singing career with Woody Herman in 1949. Later she joined Charlie Ventura’s big band and did some radio and TV work in Chicago. In 1951 she was chosen to represent Chicago in the Miss Television contest—she was regarded as a fine prospect by bookers and record people as the beautiful girl who had charmed listeners at the Chicago Streamliner and other local clubs during the early Fifties.
Her basic vocal quality was never strikingly full-ranged or tonally opulent, but her taste and musicianship were of such imaginative flexibility that she surpassed a many other nightclub singers more generously gifted by nature. Her skillful phrasing, based on her tender care for lyrics and her subtle beat, made her a singer of quiet distinction.
This set is valuable in many ways, mainly thanks to Lucy Reed’s ungimmicky, genuinely emotional singing, but also to the sympathetic backing of groups led by such jazz luminaries as Bill Evans, Dick Marx, George Russell, Gil Evans, and Eddie Higgins.
This is a collection of out-of-the-way melodies, done with distinction, fire and individuality by a singer who may have possessed too much innate “feel” for lyrics and honesty in delivery ever to have had a hit record, but who nevertheless won many enthusiastic listeners with these albums.
-The Singing Reed
"Lucy Reed was an obscure Chicago-based singer with a strong voice. Since she does not improvise and she emphasizes slow ballads on her CD reissue (often sounding closer to being a folk singer than a jazz vocalist), this set is of rather limited jazz interest. Alert listeners might pick up the CD because pianist Bill Evans is on all but three of the selections but be warned; Evans does not solo at all. Strangely enough the most interesting selections are the four that were previously unreleased [...]"
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
-This is Lucy Reed
"In a perfect world, Lucy Reed would have been much better-known and would have built a large catalog. But regrettably, the obscure Midwestern jazz singer never became well-known, and she only recorded a few albums. Recorded at various sessions in January 1957, This Is Lucy Reed is the second of two albums she provided for Fantasy. This album finds Reed backed by some of bop's heavyweights, including trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, bassist Milt Hinton, arranger George Russell (who is heard on drums), and arranger Gil Evans (who plays piano on four selections). Unfortunately, the sidemen usually don't get enough solo space. But Reed's vocals are the main thing, and the singer really shines on cool-toned yet expressive performances of well-known standards like "You Don't Know What Love Is" and W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues." Cool School goddesses like Chris Connor and June Christy are prominent influences, and yet, the recognizable Reed was a fine singer in her own right. The word "recognizable" also describes Gil Evans' arranging on "Love for Sale," "No Moon at All," and the goofy novelty item "A Trout, No Doubt"; Evans' classical-influenced style of arranging is quite distinctive, and true to form, his contributions to This Is Lucy Reed underscore his interest in European classical music. Equally attractive are Russell's arrangements on "Born to Blow the Blues," "This Is New," and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." Russell was only 34 when this album was recorded, but even in early 1957, he was a forward thinker. Anyone who is seriously into Cool School singers of the 1950s should give This Is Lucy Reed a very close listen."
Alex Henderson -All Music Guide
" It’s simply amazing how many vocalists Fresh Sound Records finds and re-introduces to today’s ears that I’ve never heard of.
Lucy Reed (1921-1998) was a vocalist for swinging bands like Woody Herman and Charlie Ventura, and she boasts of an alluring husky voices. While there are a handful of orchestra recordings with Ventura, as well as Chuck Sagle, Al Trace and Lew Douglas with their respective orchestras, the reason you’re going to want this 2 cd set is her collection of intimate small group sessions with the likes of pianist Bill Evans (and you thought you had everything by him!!!), Gil Evans and George Russell (on drums!) among others. Interested yet?
Reed teams up with Evans in both a quartet and duet supporting role. Of the former, a 1955 session of Evans with Bob Carter/b, Howard Collins/g and Sol Gubin/dr has the O’Day-inflected vocalist sauntering n “There’s a Boast Dat’s Leavin’” as well as a world wise “Fools Fall in Love” while she actually chirps ina hep fashion during “Baltimore Oriole.” She’s clear and foreboding on “No Moon at All” and warbles with Evans on “That’s How I Love The Blues.” Evans and Carter create deft and tender framework for a reflective aria on “My Time of Day” and a loose “ My Love is A Wanderer.” The team of pianist Dick Marx and bassist Johnny Frigo make Reed carefree on “Flying Down to Rio” while going stark on “It’s a Lazy Afternoon.”
Famed arranger George Russell is the drummer along with Art Farmer/tp, Milt Hinton/b and others for an intimate “This Is New” and sleek “Born to Blow the Blues.” Gil Evans keeps his Miles Ahead sound in a septet with Jimmy Cleveland/tb and Russell on a noir-ish “Love For Sale” and wood-windy “There He Goes.” One last quartet lead by pianist Eddie Higgins includes a relaxed “Lucky to Be Me” as well as a frenetic “St. Louis Blues.” This lady could do it all, and she knew with whom to do it. Once again, the voluminous liner notes will serve you well. Ignore this one at your own peril!"
George W. Harris (June 15, 2017)