Clark Terry, Jerry Tyree, Jerry Kail, Burt Collins, Al Stewart (tp), Britt Woodman, Eddie Bert (tb), Earl Warren (as), Andy Marsala (cl, as), Seldon Powell (ts), Charlie Mariano (ts, bs), Joe Farrell (fl, oboe, ts), Nick Brignola (fl, bs), Wynton Kelly, Dave Frishberg (p), Freddie Green, Sam Herman (g), Sam Jones, John Beal (b), Jimmy Cobb, Steve Little (d)
Reference: FSRCD 913
Bar code: 8427328609135
Dubbed by Cannonball Adderley “the greatest voice since Ella Fitzgerald” Detroit-born Teri Thornton (1934-2000) moved to the Big Apple in 1960, where she was an immediate hit with the city’s seasoned jazz musicians and sophisti- cated audiences. It led to her first album, Devil May Care, for Riverside, where she was backed by some of New York’s brightest jazzmen, including Clark Terry, Britt Woodman, Seldon Powell and a rhythm section that boasted, among others, Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones, Jimmy Cobb and Freddie Green. A sagacious venture into the Great American Songbook allowed her to display a fine feel for the lyrics and a voice like nobody else’s.
In 1961 Chicago deejays gave her the “Coming Star of the Year” Award and the following year she signed for Dauntless. Hailed as “one of the most exciting voices of her generation”, she had a hit single with Somewhere in the Night, which became the name of her 1963 album. Again front-rank jazzmen were involved, among them Charlie Mariano, Joe Farrell, Nick Brignola, Eddie Bert and Dave Frishberg. Well-chosen material allowed her to make the most of her contralto-rich, distinctive vocal quality and decided individuality of delivery, and both albums add up to a fitting memorial to a singular jazz vocal talent of whom Freddie Green once said: “This girl has got to make it. If she doesn’t, something’s very wrong.” He was right.
"Teri Thornton has had two careers as a vocalist. The Detroit native started out in the early 60s with a couple of very hip albums and then dropped out of the scene. She re-emerged in 1998 and actually won the Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition over Jane Monheit, Roberta Gambarini and Tierney Sutton!) before recording her last album and succumbing to cancer in 2000. This cd includes her two stellar albums, the 1961 Devil May Care and 1963 Somewhere In The Night.
Devil May Care has all stars Britt Woodman/tb, Clark Terry/tp, Earl Warren/as, Seldon Powell/ts, Wynton Kelly/p, Freddie Green/g, Sam Jones/b and Jimmy Cobb/dr along with an orchestra arranged by Norman Simmons. Her husky voice blows smoke rings on”Lullaby of the Leaves” and has a rich vibrato that she doesn’t overuse with a hint of Nina Simone on “My Old Flame” and “Detour Ahead.” The horns are hip on “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?” and Terry is cool as a cucumber on “Devil May Care.”
For Somewhere in the Night, an orchestra conducted by Larry Wilcox includes Charlie Mariano/ts-bs, Nick Brignola/fs-bs, Joe Farrell-reeds and Dave Frishberg/p on the 1963 session. She sounds like she’s singing under the corner lamp stand on the noirish “Somewhere in the Night.”
Is sassy on ”I’ve Got Your Number” and is enticing for “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.” She sounds assured, but never overplays her hand on “I’ve Got The World on a string” and she melds with the reeds on a richly textured “Mood Indigo.” My only concern about albums and artist like this is that some day Fresh Sound is going to run out of discoveries. Until then, enjoy the gold vein!"
George W. Harris (February 27, 2017)