Terry Morel (vcl), Herbie Mann (fl), Tony Luis, Ralph Sharon, Gerald Wiggins, Bob Dorough, Clare Fisher (p), Ron Andrews, Jay Cave, Gene Wright, Woody Woodson, Gary Peacock (b), Hank Nanni, Christy Febbo, Bill Douglass, Chuck Thompson, Larry Bunker (d), Jackie Mills (perc)
Bar code: 8427328611077
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Terry Morel (1925-2005) was a gifted vocalist who always seemed to find steady work in her native Philadelphia, ever since her professional debut in 1949. For a good six years, she was mostly singing musical comedy tunes, with successful appearances at nightclubs all over the East Coast, but this wasn't quite enough for Terry. She loved jazz, and wanted to sing the songs she liked, the way she wanted. That's why she gave up a successful career in a field she didn't really enjoy, to become a single, a jazz singer.
As soon as she took that new, bold step in her career, audiences started to notice, and so did labels, Prestige and Bethlehemin particular. In the records that resulted, we find a Terry that swings lightly, with a husky, pleasant voice, warmth, closeness, and a feeling for words and melody. In 1957 she moved to Los Angeles, and spent a few years performing successfully on the West Coast, but after 1962 she all but vanished from the papers. Her memory has faded almost completely, and all we are left with are these recordings, a testament to her special kind of effortless bedroom hush, so common in the June Christy and Chris Connor style, that in her case sounded completely natural.
"Songs of a Woman in Love is a quintessential Bethlehem label release -- a smoky, profoundly expressive session bathed in neon tavern light, it's singer Terry Morel's lone release for the label, which seemed to specialize in this kind of one-and-done snapshot of feminine malaise and melancholy. Backed by a trio led by pianist Ralph Sharon and featuring flutist Herbie Mann, Morel's dusky, come-hither vocals mask a deeper emotional turmoil that shades songs like "Too Late Now" and "The Night We Called It a Day." The session is devoid of all traces of the sweetness and innocence that so often define her peers, instead articulating an intimacy and intensity rare in the postwar, pre-feminist '50s."
Jason Ankeny —All Music Guide
"Jordi Pujol and Fresh Sound Records continue to amaze: once again a pearl has been found. I had never heard Terry Morel sing until this review. That's not surprising because all her available recordings yield one hour of remastered music. Turned up in the archives of Bethlehem (BCP-47) and Prestige (EP 1374), supplemented with TV recordings.
The sound quality is always okay with FSR. Most importantly, I fall for the charms of Morel's interpretations without hesitation. She knows how to captivate me as a superior supper club singer. Think June Christy. You can hear a hint of smokiness in her swinging voice (Peggy Lee). Morel takes freedom in her phrases, for example in The Night We Called It A Day: jazz drama the way you want to hear it. With cool accompanists from the West Coast, where the singer moved in 1957. Morel gets wonderful support here and there: I mention Herbie Mann (fl), Larry Bunker (d) and pianists Ralph Sharon, Gerry Wiggins and Bob Dorough. Guys with a track record in solo projects and as a sideman.
The TV footage is from LA time, my favorite part of this compilation. Listen to But Not For Me. Morel shares her loneliness with the listener. And a viewer at the time, after all, live TV. wow! From the same Stars of Jazz programme, six months later: Skylark with said Dorough. How could this singer disappear from the studio floor five years later? Well, not quite. Fortunately. Jordan, thank you."
—Sjef Moerdijk (January, 2022)
Dr. Jazz Magazine, The Netherlands
"Terry Morel (1925-2005) est née à Philadelphie où elle a débuté en professionnelle en 1949. Elle fait d'abord une carrière commerciale dans des cabarets. En 1955, un pianiste de 24 ans, Tony Luis, l'oriente vers le jazz. En trio (Ron Andrews, b, Hank Nanni, dm), Luis avait déjà enregistré sous son nom un 45 tours pour Prestige (1954, New Jazz EP 1703). A son tour la chanteuse réalise quatre titres en mars 1955,Terry Morel Sings With the Tony Luis Trio (Prestige EP 1374). En fait, Terry Morel n'est pas convaincante pour le jazz. On entend un bon solo de Tony Luis dans «But Not for Me». Il accompagne bien et invente de jolies introductions. Le batteur est inexistant. Moins d'un an plus tard, alors que Terry Morel chante au Montclair Supper Club de Jackson Heights, NY, le label Bethlehem qui a déjà lancé Helen Carr, demande à Rudy Van Gelder d'enregistrer Terry en public, ce qui donne l'album Songs of a Woman in Love (Bethlehem BCP 47). La rythmique est plus swinguante. La voix est toujours sans caractère, mais l'entourage fait que le disque est bon. Les contre-chants et solos d'Herbie Mann sont tous excellents («Sometimes I'm Happy», «Who Cares»). Ralph Sharon fait du bon travail en accompagnement et en solo («Somebody Else», «More Than You Know»). Dans «How About You?» et «You're Not the Kind of a Boy for a Girl Like Me», Terry Morel tente d'imiter Sarah Vaughan, tant mieux, mais elle est loin derrière. La comparer à June Christy et Chris Connor est très excessif. Helen Carr, Julie London, Kay Starr, Ella Mae Morse, Betty Ann Blake pour ne rien dire d'Anita O'Day sont d'un talent plus conséquent. Non que la voix soit laide, mais la justesse est parfois limite, et elle phrase de façon molle en cherchant à «faire joli» («The Night We Called It Day»). Terry Morel se rend ensuite pour la première fois sur la Côte Ouest où elle participe à un show télévisé, Stars of Jazz (1957) avec Gerry Wiggins («But Not For Me»), puis Bob Dorough («Day In Day Out», ce que Terry Morel a fait de mieux). Morel est restée à Los Angeles. Elle s'est produite dans des cabarets, participa à une télévision dont un titre avec Gary Peacock, inaudible, qui termine cette compilation (1962). S'il faut faire un choix, l'avantage va à Helen Carr."
© Jazz Hot, 2022
"It continues to boggle the mind when one starts realizing how many excellent female vocalists were on the jazz scene in the 1950s and 60s. You only scratch the surface with Ella, Sassy, Chris Connor and Peggy Lee, as Spain-based Fresh Sound Records keeps digging up buried treasures that deserve to be heard and heard again. Here are a couple recent finds…
THE VOICES THAT TIME FORGOT series continues with a pair of obscure gems.
Philadelphia-born Terry Morel was a fixture in the local scene, and never stretched out much further, yet her husky cool June Christy’d tone is both flexible and warm on this inviting collection of material. There are a handful of 1955 studio sessions with her local working band, and she plays around with the lyrics of “I Can’t Get Started” while carrying a glowing torch on “I Remember You”. A 1956 gig in New York has her teamed with Tony Bennett’s pianist Ralph Sutton as well as Herbie Mann/fl, Jay Cave/b and Christy Febbo/dr with some nifty work on “How About You?”, “Mountain Greenery” and a glowing work with Sutton on “More Than You Know”. A few tunes from a 1957 LA TV Show has her with all stars Bob Dorough-Gerald Wiggins-Claire Fisher/p, Gene Wright-Woody Woodson-Gary Peacock/b, Bill Douglass-Chuck Thompson-Larry Bunker/dr and Jackie Mills/perc to display a cooing warble on “But Not For Me” and “Skylark”. Dry ice at the mic."
—George W. Harris (November 26, 2021)