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In 1956, when Toni Harper was just eighteen years old, she made her first album for Norman Granzs Verve, the label he had started earlier that year.
For her debut Harper, who had already made an impact as an almostbaby singer, was backed by none other than Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, and Alvin Stoller. On display were all the traits that had made her a success: a good voice, a knack for swing, and brilliant intonation. She had traces of Sarah Vaughan in her singing, without ever becoming derivative or getting stuck in any one style.
All I want now, she said, is to become a good, versatile singer. To underline that, this fine release also includes two recordings she did with Dizzy Gillespie, four tunes issued on two singles with an orchestra under the direction of Buddy Bregman; two tracks from her appearance on the TV show Stars of Jazz, and one last song arranged and conducted by Marty Paich - a handful of great performances by an outstanding singer.
01. Cant We Be Friends?
02. I Could Write a Book
03. Gone with the Wind
04. Singin in the Rain
05. Love for Sale
06. Just A-Sittin and A-Rockin
07. A Foggy Day
08. You Dont Know What Love Is
09. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
10. Little Girl Blue
11. You Took Advantage of Me
12. Like Someone In Love
13. Taking a Chance on Love
14. Play Me the Blues
15. Love Is a Wonderful Thing
16. I Telephoned, I Telegraphed
17. Weve Got to Live, Got to Grow
18. My Memory Book
19. Them There Eyes
20. Bewitched (Bothered and Bewildered)
21. Petals on the Pond
Tracks #1-12: The Oscar Peterson Quartet
Oscar Peterson (p), Herb Ellis (g), Ray Brown (b), Alvin Stoller (d).
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, December 29, 1955, and January 6, 1956
Tracks #13-14: Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra
Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Edison (tp), Melba Liston (tb), Willie Smith (as),Curtis Amy (ts), Clyde Dunn (bar), Eddie Beal (p), George Bledsoe (b), Albert Bartee (d).
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, November 8, 1955
Tracks #15-18: The Buddy Bregman Orchestra
Milt Bernhart, Joe Howard, Lloyd Ulyate, Si Zentner (tb), Wilbur Schwartz, Maurice Stein, Ted Nash, Bob Cooper, Dale Issenhuth (saxes & woodwinds), Paul Smith (p), Barney Kessel (g), Joe Mondragon (b), Alvin Stoller (d). Plus string section (8 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, harp) added on tracks #15 and 18.
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, February 23, 1956
Tracks #19-20: Eddie Beal Trio
Eddie Beal (p), Red Mitchell (b), Frank Capp (d, perc).
Recorded at ABC Studios, Stars of Jazz TV show, February 18, 1957
Track #21: Orchestra Arranged & Conducted by Marty Paich
Dominick Fera, Lurie Mitchell, Bud Shank (cl), Jimmy Rowles (p, celeste), Bill Pitman (g), Joe Mondragon (b), Mel Lewis (d), 10 violins; 4 violas; 4 cellos, Kathryn Julye, harp.
Recorded at R.C.A. Victor Studios, Hollywood, April 29, 1960
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol