Sue Raney (vcl), Charlie Davis, Carl Saunders, Larry McGuire (tp, flh), Carmen Fanzone (flh), Andy Martin, Bruce Otto, Charlie Morillas (tb), Rick Todd, Suzette Moriarty (Frh), Gary Foster, Lanny Morgan (as, fl), Terry Harrington, Bob Sheppard (ts, cl), John Mitchell (bs), Jim Walker (fl), Earl Dumler (oboe), Alan Broadbent (p, arr, cond), Chuck Berghofer (b), Joe LaBarbera, Clayton Cameron (d), Lou Ann Neill (harp)
Reference: FSRCD 5045
Bar code: 8427328650458
A wonderful record come true, recorded in Hollywood at the legendary Capitol Studio A, it was cut featuring the same hallmark sound that made Capitol a world-wide celebrity between the classic labels in jazz. Backed by a large ensemble -including brass, reeds, rhythm and strings- singer Sue Raney performs here as touchingly as if she were back in 1957, when Capitol Records made the teenage Sue its newest Cinderella, and her idol Doris Day was Americas favourite singing sweetheart on film. Her partner on this CD is two-time Grammy-winning pianist and arranger Alan Broadbent, who can evoke the mellow big band swing of Doris Days early years with Les Brown, making her classic repertory sound like a swirling cloud of memories.
Sue has a lot of wisdom to show for those fifty years on record, and as this beautiful album proves, shes still in her prime.
—James Gavin, author of Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker
"Sue Raney is hardly without a following, but it is a puzzle why a singer of her gifts never achieved widespread fame. For far too long, general audiences have been unaware of Raney's sublime work. Raney's new Doris Day tribute is one of the best albums of her career. The Spanish label Fresh Sound recorded it last fall in Los Angeles with a full orchestra arranged and conducted by Alan Broadbent.
Day was in the last wave of quality popular singers blessed with good material, and Raney makes the most of "Secret Love," "Love Me Or Leave Me" and twelve other songs. A singer who has achieved technical perfection that encompasses tonal accuracy and range into the stratosphere, she provides a moment of thrilling vocalese when she parallels the lead trumpet in an interlude on "Sentimental Journey." For the most part, however, she just sings the songs, and sings them superlatively. Her treatment of "Shanghai" ("I'm just around the corner in a phone booth...") is a joy. But then, so is the entire CD. Broadbent's arrangements perfectly complement Raney. There are succinct solos by Broadbent at the piano, Carmen Fanzone on flugelhorn and saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Gary Foster."
—Doug Ramsey (RIFFTIDES, Arts Journal weblog)
"In a musical world of declining values, where even jazz and cabaret singers are disposable, songs are contrived and so-called stylists grow more dispensable every day, Im glad there is Sue Raney. This sophisticated, supernaturally gifted California-based singer and vocal coach has developed a cult following that spans several decades of studio recordings and appearances in clubs and concert halls. But like most great singers, she gets harder to find all the time, both on CD and in person. Thats why a new Sue Raney recording (I still call them albums) is such a cause for rejoicing. Hearts Desire (Fresh Sound), her first CD in nine years, is a 14-track tribute to Sues idol, the legendary Doris Day. Its a genuine masterpiece no serious fan of the Great American Songbook can afford to miss.
One great singers homage to another is not a new idea, but few have conceived a project this ambitious with so much imagination and originality. The concept was to honor a cross section of the familiar songs that made Doris one of the most popular and enduring movie stars of all time without a single acting lesson. But what makes Hearts Desire unique is Sue Raneys ability to transform each tune into a work that sounds brand new.
The material runs the gamut from creamy ballads like My Dream is Yours and Ill Never Stop Loving You to novelty songs like Shanghai and Put Em in a Box, Tie Em with a Ribbon, but without exception they feel and sound like things you might hear between takes on other singers albumsnot the canned, antiseptic perfection of contemporary arrangements. The rapturous beauty of Ms. Raneys voice, laced with humor, is sheer magic, but she also reaches across spaces to find fresh subtexts, and touches you emotionally on her journey. The result is a collection of familiar songs associated with Doris Day that do not sound cobbled from anyone elses golden oldies. Example: Que Sera, Sera, a throwaway tune I never wanted to hear again, raised an eyebrow when I saw it listed as the first cut on the CD. But when I heard jazz pianist-arranger-conductor Alan Broadbents lush string arrangement for the first time, I was so devastated I had to play it five times in a row. Taking this tired old workhorse at a breathy, wistful pace worthy of Shirley Horn, Sue convinces you that you are hearing it for the very first time. Similar truths and revelations await on Broadbents gorgeous charts for Its Magic, With a Song in My Heart and yes, even the awful Everybody Loves a Lover, which shimmers with a hip, humorous salsa beat. In every song, Sues velvety voice finds new inflections, new emotions and new tempos to rescue the repertoire from the encroachment of nostalgia.
The title tune, by Broadbent and Dave Frishberg, has nothing to do with Doris Day, but personifies the unifying themes and dreams behind the entire project. Its worth noting the special patina of inescapable irony rubbed across the musical landscape of this exquisite accomplishment: It was recorded in the same Capitol Records studio that was once home to Sinatra, Kenton, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, June Christy and others; its where Sue made her first recordings with Nelson Riddle and Billy May 50 years ago, when she was 17. Passing seasons have kissed her forehead. At a time when most girl singers under 30 sound exactly alike, her voice is stronger, better, more luxurious and exhilarating than ever. She's collected enough rave reviews through the years to paper an airplane hangar, and shes no stranger to the standing ovations and obsessive adulation of her own admirers, but in the songs of Doris Day she has found true inspiration. That glorious voice, rising and falling in crescendos of perfectly modulated harmonic patterns, clear and elegant as baccarat, never wears thin or weary around the edges. She's the vocal equivalent of a pointillist painting, hitting vowels and consonants in the center of the notes, making thrilling little points until all the dots come together in a total melodic canvas.
Doris Day songs bring out a Cinderella quality in her singing that blends innocence and girlish wonder with the timbre and resonance of a seasoned artist. Broadbents lavish symphonic arrangements provide new places in which her abundant voice may nestle. No plan. No pyrotechnics. No lousy rock and roll. No (God love her) Andrew Lloyd Webber. Shes in a class by herself, and if the people who book New York nightclubs werent so stupid and myopic, we could enjoy her special brand of alchemy in person instead of endless exposure to toneless hacks like Stacey Kent and Maude Maggart.
Meanwhile, be grateful for crumbs. The world is so cacophonous and overwhelming that its a challenge to persuade people to sit down and listen to eloquence. But if youre a student of the old school of sublime singers like Sue Raney and your brain needs musical oxygen, or if youre unlucky to be under 20 and dont know who Doris Day is, then buy Hearts Desire and die in ecstasy."
"Sue Raney fans have had to get used to long waits between albums but the anticipation is always exceeded by the realisation and this latest gem is I believe her crowning achievement. Conceived as a tribute to Doris Day, the songs include many of the latter's signature tunes, such as SECRET LOVE, EVERYBODY LOVES A LOVER and QUE SERA, SERA, reaching back in her catalogue to hits like SHANGHAI, PUT 'EM IN A BOX and IT'S MAGIC. Magic it certainly is, because these old favourites have acquired a lustre that positively gleams.
Wonderful large scale orchestrations by Alan Broadbent include a lush string section (real strings, mind, not synthesised) provide the best setting we've heard for Ms Raney since her debut album with Nelson Riddle all those years ago and does she rise to the occasion. Whether it's tender ballads like I'LL NEVER STOP LOVING YOU and MY DREAM IS YOURS or swingers such as LULLABY OF BROADWAY and LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME, the singing is just sensational, so heartfelt when needed and so zingy when the mood demands. The opening QUE SERA SERA will make you think twice about this song as Sue slows it down to invest it with a yearning poignancy that I didn't know was buried beneath its bouncy exterior. The final track which gives the album its title was never sung by Doris but its sentiments sum up this labour of love better than any words of mine could. The new album of the year without a doubt - it refuses to leave my CD player!"
In Tune International (www.gnudawn.co.uk/intune)
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