Marilyn Moore (vcl), Joe Wilder, Harry Edison (tp), Al Cohn (ts, b-cl), Coleman Hawkins (ts), Don Abney, Dick Hyman (p), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton, Oscar Pettiford (b), Osie Johnson (d)
Reference: FSRCD 711
Bar code: 8427328607117
When singer Marilyn Moore (1931-1992) recorded the album Moody for Bethlehem in 1957, she caused some controversy because she sounded so much like Billie Holiday. At any rate, I sing the way I feel like singing, she responded. And, in his five-star review for Down Beat, Leonard Feather said she was the finest new jazz singer Ive heard this year; for me, the LP was a joy from start to finish.
Some of the material is little known and valuable, notably George Russells Born to Blow the Blues and the two George Handy tunes, Trouble and Leavin. Time has vindicated his judgment, with the singers husband, Al Cohn, sounding uncannily like Pres, Joe Wilder superb on several tracks, and Abney a tasty, sympathetic accompanist.
A year later, Feather produced a jazz treatment of the Broadway musical Oh, Captain!, for MGM which was the first such jazz album ever to include vocals, with Moore, Jackie Paris and Osie Johnson. It was recorded in three separate sessions, first with an all-star quintet featuring Harry Edison, Coleman Hawkins, Oscar Pettiford, Osie Johnson and Dick Hyman, then with a big band, and finally with the Tony Scott Quartet.
Notwithstanding her resemblance to Billie Holiday, its hard to disagree with Feathers verdict on an excellent singer.
"Often sounding remarkably like Billie Holiday on the 1957 album Moody, Marilyn Moore (who would have been 82 this month but died in 1992 at 60) had a style that was straightforward and affecting lyrically and rhythmically in her own right. She is accompanied by a stellar group, Don Abney and His Orchestra, including her husband Al Cohn on tenor saxophone along with bassist Milt Hinton, trumpeter Joe Wilder and guitarist Barry Galbraith, among others, with arrangements by Abney, Cohn and George Russell. She swings with an appealing baby doll wah-wah hornlike delivery on Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby. It's just one of the jumping blues throughout. In tandem with Wilder's trumpet Moores wailing is especially resonant on a little known gem, Born to Blow the Blues, as well as with the Alec Wilder classic Trouble is a Man.
Paired on the same reissue is a rediscovered gem on which Moore is joined by another outstanding jazz group, the Leonard Feather and Dick Hyman All Stars. The 1958 Broadway run of Oh, Captain! was a modest one, but Jay Livingston-Ray Evans score is worth revisiting. Hymans piano support is as solid as always, this time with Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone), Harry Sweets Edison (trumpet), with Hinton or Oscar Pettiford (bass). Moore makes something absolutely delicious of Femininity and no less excellent is You Dont Know Him, with Jimmy Cleveland's trombone obbligato behind Moore, along with a full tenor chorus by Jerome Richardson. You're So Right For Me is a treat with Jackie Paris on additional vocal and a dashing full chorus by Hyman. Give It All You've Got gets a dozen earthy bars on baritone sax and piano by Tony Scott and Hyman, respectively, before some traditional blues from Moore. A memorably juicy and solid set, this jazz interpretation of a Broadway score definitely merits a fresh listen."
Andrew Vélez (June, 2013)
The New York City Jazz Records