Pat Thomas, Barbara Long (vcl), Booker Little, Billy Howell (tp), Curtis Fuller (tb), Roland Alexander (ts, fl), Booker Ervin (ts), Tommy Flanagan, Nat Phipps (p), Teddy Charles (vib), Kenny Burrell (g), Reggie Workman, George Tucker (b), Charles Persip, Al Harewood (d)
Reference: FSR V114 CD
Bar code: 8427328641142
The Best Voices Time Forgot
Collectible Albums by Top Female Vocalists
· Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Pat Thomas (1938-1992) was born and raised in Chicago, and even before she turned eighteen, she was already the most sought-after singer by local and visiting musicians, who all valued her way of handling lyrics. Her instrumental approach to singing, warm vocal sound, impeccable intonation, along with an unaffectedly sincere feel for the blues, earned her a chance to record her album Jazz Patterns in 1960, an excellent debut effort with a first-rate accompaniment. Backing her, we can hear, alternately, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, Curtis Fuller, and Booker Little, among other great jazz names, who not only supported the fresh, modern voice of Pat Thomas, but also contributed to keep the swing alive with their own exciting solos.
Also a native Chicagoan, Barbara Long’s career as a jazz singer began in 1953 —at twenty— when she joined tenorman Johnny Griffin’s trio at Chicago’s Cotton Club. She was essentially a small group singer in the tradition of Billie Holiday and the early Sarah Vaughan. She went to New York in 1959, and got a chance to record her first and only album, simply titled Soul. She had the backing of a quintet led by arranger and trumpeter Billy Howell, which included one of the brightest new tenor saxophone stars at the time, the fiercely rhythmic Booker Ervin. The rhythm section —Nat Phipps, piano; George Tucker, bass; and Al Harewood, drums— sounds tight, while Barbara Long’s pithy, faintly hoarse, intimately bluesy voice blends with the swing of the quintet like a sixth instrument.
"This important series from Fresh Sound has brought back several very good although long-forgotten singers of classic pop. This particular example stands out for me because the two singers heard here are much more jazz-oriented.
Pat Thomas is very good indeed, ably demonstrating why she was very popular on the Chicago jazz scene of the late 1950s/early 1960s. Hearing the first of these resurrected albums, Jazz Patterns, it is hard to believe that Thomas was only 22 years old when this was recorded. Her vocal sound is full and rich, and she brings mature understanding to the lyrics of a nice selection of songs. Her accompanists are attuned to her vocal style, proving appropriate backing with occasional solos, mainly from Teddy Charles on vibraphone and Booker Little on trumpet.
A little older, Barbara Long was 29 years old when she made Soul. She, too, sang in Chicago’s jazz clubs, including a spell with a trio led by tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin at the city’s Cotton Club.
Her first recordings appear to have been some tracks on an album by alto saxophonist Herb Geller and this led to a session for Savoy Records, which resulted in her first and only album. On this she is accompanied by trumpeter Billy Howell’s quintet. Another Chicagoan, he also wrote the arrangements, which effectively highlight the vocalist. Also present is tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin, who is given solo space on The Trolley Song and When You’re Smiling. As the album’s title suggests, there is in Long’s soulful singing a hint of the blues.
This release is a very interesting, enjoyable and valuable addition to Jordi Pujol’s treasure trove of singers from the past. After an Internet search, I see that Pat Thomas died in 1992, but there is scant information on what became of Barbara Long."
Bruce Crowther (October 6, 2019)
"It is very easy to call this the definitive Barbara Long album (or her best) because it is the only one she ever made. The obscure singer had a swinging style and a soft voice whose pitch sometimes wandered a little. She definitely had an adventurous spirit, starting the date with a very uptempo "Trolley Song" and stretching herself on some of the dozen songs. This Savoy reissue from the Japanese Denon label features Long with a fine backup group that includes trumpeter Billy Howell (who has an active role), pianist Nat Phipps, bassist George Tucker, drummer Al Harewood, and (on two songs) the great tenor Booker Ervin. This sincere effort is worth a few spins."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
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