Reference: FSR V130 CD
Bar code: 8427328641302
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
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
In May 1953, a sprightly 23-year-old girl by the name Ruth Price took the audience at Birdland by surprise when she jumped on stage to sing with the Johnny Smith trio. Ruth, a recent discovery of Charlie ventura’s manager Don Palmer, hailed from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where she was born in 1930.
She was a former ballet dancer and had only switched to singing recently. A month later though, Ruth was back to dancing, mostly because her reputation as a ballerina cast enough of a shadow that no club believed she was serious about singing jazz. Luckily, at Palmer’s suggestion, in the summer of 1954 Ruth found herself singing with the Charlie Ventura quintet for about a week, replacing regular singer Mary Ann McCall who was on sick leave. This was Ruth’s first major job, and even though it was only a sub, it opened the doors to a number of club engagements.
In 1955 she signed for Kapp Records, and her first album for the label was "My Name is Ruth Price… I Sing," an extremely encouraging debut for a young woman who was just turning 25. We hear a Ruth full of fresh swing, with fine control, good range and even better phrasing, capable of delivering sensitive interpretations of the lyrics in a variety of approaches.
A year later a second album for the label followed. It was titled "The Party's Over," and in many ways it confirmed her best qualities, expanding on the many facets of her talents. Her assured delivery of each tune leaves little doubt that, despite the initial concerns of club owners, Ruth Price actually was —by nature— a jazz singer.
"One of the real pleasures in today’s technology is the fact that guys like Spain’s Jordi Pujols is able to find obscure jazz albums and help us rediscover true artists that were overlooked during a time of singer overload. This latest set is simple irresistible. The liner notes answer the questions as to why this lady never got much traction.
The real ringer her is this two disc set by Ruth Price, who’s now best known as the owner of LA’s best jazz venue, the venerable Jazz Bakery. I’m willing to bet that no one who attends the shows that she sponsors and produces has even an inkling of how powerful and original a vocalist this lady was. There’s a video of her singing with Stan Getz on youtube, and that’s about as much as I knew. Now, with these albums from 1955-1956, you can’t look at her the same way.
Her 1955 session has her teamed with pianist/arranger Lou Stein’s trio of Milt Hinton/b and Ellis Tollin/dr along with guests Tony Mottola/g, Frank Wess/ts and Joe Newman/tp from Count Basie’s Orchestra. What grabs you right away is her mastery of giving clever intros to each song, flexible and clever on “My Shining Hour”, giving a dash of Ella Fitzgerald on a clever “Gentleman Friend” declaratory with Tollin on a bold “Shadrack” and giving a hint of Judy Garland on the vibrato’d and hopeful “Someday My Prince Will Come”. Through it all, she oozes with confidence and artistic ambition.
Her 1956 follow-up with Norman Price/p, Frank Cerchia/g and Ed Arndt/b (and various guests) shows that her debut was no fluke. She loves grabbing your attention, going into a dark Judy Garland mode with Price on “Calypso Blues”, playing her role well on “I Am The Girl” and a hep cat with vibe support on “I Guess I’ll Have To Dream The Rest.” Her solo intro to the album on “By Myself” lures you in before she then teams up with the drummer for a great swinging feel. She gets reflective buoyed with Cerchia on “(I’m Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over” and gives an aria for the title tune a la Pagliacci. She gives slight colors of a wide variety of vocalists, such as Ella, Garland and even Blossom Dearie, but she sounds completely original, making you want to ask her next time at a Bakery gig when she’ll sing at her own club!"
George W. Harris (November 23, 2020)
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