Icy brilliance from a young Helen Merrill – The Nearness Of You – a record that's easily the Mercury equivalent of June Christy's classic work on Capitol or Chris Connor's classics for Bethlehem! Helen's working here with small combo backings on all tracks – carved out with players who include Bobby Jaspar, Bill Evans, Oscar Pettiford, and George Russell – all swinging gently alongside the vocals, but also taking care to shade things in with some of the darker, bluer colors that always worked best for Merrill – and which made her voice echo with a depth that few other singers could match! Titles include "When The Sun Comes Out", "I Remember You", "Summertime", "Let Me Love You", and "All Of You". You've Got A Date With The Blues – maybe our favorite album ever from Merrill – certainly from the early days – and a unique outing cut for MGM's excellent Metrojazz label! The set's got a more laidback sound than Merrill's previous records – and a definite bluesy undercurrent too – one that comes through strongly in the piano and arrangements of Jimmy Jones, and in the tremendous tenor work from Frank Wess – whose playing on the record gives
the set a soulful quality we're not used to hearing with Helen! Tunes all follow the theme of the title – but are done in really inventive ways, especially when Wess gets a chance to solo – and titles include "Blues In My Heart", "The Blues", "The Thrill Is Gone", "You've Got A Date With The Blues", "The Meaning Of The Blues", and "Vous M'Ebloussez".