Reference: FSRCD 808
Bar code: 8427328608084
Mavis Rivers (1929-1992) was a Samoan-born singer. She used her lovely voice with telling effect, relying not on power, but on outstanding pop phrasing with authentic jazz feeling, and could handle just about any mood or tempo.
When Capitol released her first album, Take a Number, in May 1959, she was unknown, unheralded; sales were not good, but airplay was great. Disc jockeys were overwhelmed by her refreshing style, comparing her to Ella Fitzgerald; for many she was the best singer to come along in a long, long time. Both the Billboard and Cash Box Disc Jockey Polls placed her among the Most Promising New Female Vocalists of 1959. In the same category, she won a Grammy nomination.
Early in 1960, Capitol released her second album Hooray for Love, and also a single, and backed them with the full strength of its promotional efforts. Later in the year appeared her third and last album on the label The Simple Life. Quality was the hallmark of her singing, and with the arrangements of Nelson Riddle, Jack Marshall, Bob Thompson and Dick Reynolds, she rose to the varied challenges of these albums to run the gamut of her stylistic, emotional and interpretive range to reveal the extent of her memorable talent.
"Samoan born Mavis Rivers (1929-1992) came on like a whirlwind in 1959 and all through 1961-62. She was signed to Capitol Records and made all the sterling tracks heard here on the first CD with first-class backing orchestras conducted by Nelson Riddle and Jack Marshall. She is backed on the first 12 tracks of disc 1 with the sort of swinging arrangements by Riddle that Frank Sinatra enjoyed at this vintage. Her voice was clear and bright with the sort of clarity and phrasing that Ella Fitzgerald was famous for. Indeed Mavis was often compared to Ella and there are certainly similarities. Up-tempo or ballads she was consistently on the beat and sounding confident and even managed to make Three Coins In The Fountain sound good. In the main she chose good standards like In Love In Vain and brought out the best in them. She could also scat well, always a good sign of a jazz oriented singer who worked with top instrumentalists. Her personalized version of I Fall In Love Too Easily is a standout ballad in this collection.
Even better from a jazz point of view is disc 2 with Mavis singing on the first 12 tracks with Marty Paichs orchestra and sterling solos from Jack Sheldon and Bud Shank. These discs deserve an extra half star on the rating. Theres No You is a poignant vocal reading with a rich orchestral backing featuring Sheldon and some tasty French horn and tuba interjections. The next 11 pieces are also with a top jazz outfit [...]"
Derek Ansell -January, 2014
"Mavis Rivers had a casual, amiable approachthough her delivery was glossier and swinging. Rivers' marble-smooth tone was seductive and her held notes shimmered with a slight vibrato. But she resisted belting songs, coolly sending up songs with hip phrasing. In all fairness to Southern, Rivers recorded at the tail end of the 1950s and the start of the 1960s, when the jazz-pop idiom had been perfected, resulting in crackerjack 12-inch LPs.
Rivers had A-list arrangers like Jack Marshall, Dick Reynolds, Nelson Riddle, Marty Paich, Neil Hefti, Van Alexander and Chuck Sagle. Most of her song choices were upbeat, and her phrasing on up-tempo tunes borrowed ever-so-slightly from Ella Fitzgerald's round, friendly conversational style. Rivers was truly one of the finest least-known singers of the era."
Marc Myers -October 1, 2013
"La de Mavis Rivers (1929 - 1992) es la historia de una joven que creció a la sombra de Ella Fitzgerald. Nacida en Samoa, acabó instalándose en Los Ángeles, donde desarrollaría una carrera que la llevó a firmar con Capitol un contrato en 1958. Durante los dos años siguientes grabó un total de tres álbumes con, entre otros, el prestigioso director de orquesta Nelson Riddle, aunque tal vez sea el último de esta época, The simple life, en el que brilla con una especial intensidad al lado del sexteto que la acompañaba. Frank Sinatra reparó en ella y se la llevó a Reprise, donde dio de sí otros tantos LP y singles al lado de Marty Paich o Chuck Sagle. De todos ellos nos quedamos con el que grabó con Shorty Rogers. Algo más que una émula de Ella."
Rafa Martínez (12 de Marzo, 2014)
Cultura(s) / La Vanguardia
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