Pat Healy (vcl), Fred Katz (arr, dir), Paul Horn (as, bcl, fl), Paul Bley, Gerald Wiggins, Joe Marino (p), John Pisano, Howard Roberts (g), Charlie Haden, Hal Gaylor, Richard Von Holberg (b), Lenny McBrowne, Chico Hamilton, Shelly Manne (d)
Bar code: 8427328611282
Miss Pat Healy (1927-2020) was born in Cleveland but at age 22 she settled in Los Angeles. She spent years filling various jobs before having the courage to make impromptu appearances at some local nightclubs. Finally in 1957 spirited by pianist Joe Marino, she quit her job and soon emerged as a praised and applauded singer by the audiences, winning soon her first professional contract as a guest vocalist on the television show Stars of Jazz, backed by the Paul Bley trio. As a consequence of her performance, she was offered to record for World Pacific Records.
On Just Before Dawn, her debut album, Pat sang eleven standard songs, some of them quite unusual, backed by cellist Fred Katz’s intimate approach to arranging and conducting, and by Joe Marino’s quartet. In both settings, she revealed herself as a vocalist with clarity of sound, style, sensitivity, and the ability to sing difficult songs, with the right accompaniment, resulting in this distinctive album, the first and only she recorded.
The remaining recordings come from two later appearances of Pat in Stars of Jazz, where she can be heard with the backing of the Keith Williams orchestra, and finally, alone with her favorite accompanist, Joe Marino.
"Just when you thought you’ve heard every female singer from the 1950s, here comes Fresh Sound Records with another rare find.
I’ve tried to find info on this lady Pat Healy (1927-2020), but outside of the liner notes from this one CD set, there is next to NOTHING available. What I can tell you is that she has voice and delivery a bit like Chris Connor and June Christy, a bit husky, and able to fit into a variety of settings, which she does here on an album having her backed by single piano, trio, quartet and orchestra. She wears everything well!
The recordings are culled from studio recordings and TV shows. Of the latter, she’s clear and relaxed with a trio including Paul Bley/p and Charlie Haden/b on “The Siren Song” and “I Wish I Were In Love Again”, while teamed only with pianist Joe Marino, she is fun on “They All Laughed”. There’s a dash of Rosemary Clooney in her when she’s backed by a full orchestra that includes Paul Horn/as, Gerald Wiggins/p, John Pisano/g and Chico Hamilton/dr (!) for “Isn’t It A Pity” and is intimate and luscious on “Easy Come” and “Every Time” in a quartet with Marino, Howard Roberts/g, Richard Von Holberg/b and Shelly Manne”. She sounds completely comfortable in her own skin, and is more authoritative than 90% of what you hear in today’s vocalists. Check this one out!"
—George W. Harris (March 20, 2023)