A key link in the early career of Blossom Dearie – and a fab album of jazzy vocal tracks throughout! Before Blossom recorded some of her 50s sides for Verve in the US, she was living in France and working with The Blue Stars – a cool male/female jazz vocal group that went onto become the prototype for later acts like The Swingle Singers, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, and Les Double Six! This 1954 album by the group was actually a minor hit in the US, where their swinging harmony version of "Lullaby Of Birdland" crept up the charts for a few weeks. The album's even cooler than the hit, though, and has lots of groovy jazz vocal tracks in French, with the sort of vocalese harmony scatting that you probably already know from the more famous groups mentioned above. You can always pick out Blossom's distinctive voice in the group, but the real strength is the groovy group vocals – shining beautifully in one of the first great recordings of vocalese harmony! Tracks include "Gina", "Embrasse Moi Bien", "La Danse Du Baiser", "Toute Ma Joie", and a version of "Mister Sandman" that's been renamed "Mister L'Amour". CD
Bryony James —
Feeling Good ... CD Mercury/Zeitgeist (UK), 1969. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A really groovy little vocal jazz record – cut by an American singer on the London scene of the late 60s – working here with tight backing from the Laurie Holloway Quartet! Bryony James has this way of going deep with her range that's a bit like Morgana King, but she's also a bit less heavy, too – and swings easily without getting lost in her trills – bringing a lightness to the record that's a great match for the cool arrangements provided by Holloway – whose group also includes a nice percussionist. Many tunes are familiar, but they're given very groovy treatments here – and tracks include "Our Day Will Come", "Feeling Good", "Summertime", "Goin Out Of My Head", "How Insensitive", "Come Back To Me", and "Look Of Love". CD
One of the more obscure albums from Connie Francis' strong 60s run on Mercury – and one of the best, too! Francis begins the album almost as a country singer – working a bit of Patsy Cline blueness into the record alongside Nashville-style piano lines. And as things progress, there's a bit more pop in the mix – but Francis still has this rich style that's surprisingly expressive, even when carefully balanced – way more than we remember from some of her crossover pop hits. We're not sure who handled arrangements, but the mix of rhythms, piano, and even sometime backing vocals definitely show a Nashville vibe – and titles include "Second Hand Love", "Dreamboat", "Breakin In A Brand New Broken Heart", "It Happened Last Night", "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You", and "Gonna Git That Man". CD
2 very obscure sessions from vocalist Helen Merrill – both recorded in Tokyo during the early 60s! The first half of the CD is from the album Helen Merrill In Tokyo – a wonderful small combo set arranged by drummer Takeshi Inomata, played by a combo that includes alto, baritone, and trumpet – all used in a cool and laidback mode that resonates nicely with Merrill's more familiar 50s sides on Mercury. Helen's in great form vocally – often singing in that almost-effortless mode that we love in her classic work – and titles include "It Never Entered My Mind", "Bewitched", "You Do Something To Me", "Teach Me Tonight", "Good Morning Heartache", and "My Favorite Things". Next up are 12 more tracks from Helen Merrill Sings Folk – a rare entry in the "jazz meets folk" style that was popular in the early 60s, and which is done here with a nice degree of subtlety. The tunes are all from folk sources, but get some gentle jazz reworkings by arrangers Norio Maeda and Masao Yogi – hardly folksy at all in their instrumentation, but spare and spacious enough to let Merrill dominate the tunes as if she were working alone. Highlights include 2 great Japanese folk tunes – "Lullaby Of Chugoku-Chiho" and "Lullaby Of Itsuki" – and other tracks include "Donna Donna", "Black Is The Color", "Motherless Child", and "Wayfarin Stranger". CD
Sarah Vaughan —
Divine One ... CD Roulette/Warner (Japan), 1960. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
Sarah Vaughan definitely earns her divine nickname here – singing sublimely here in a warmly jazzy setting from her early years at Roulette Records! The style's a nice extension of Vaughan's best sides at Mercury – and is almost a nice back-to-basics approach, the kind of reminder that Sarah always sounds best when she's heard at her jazziest – as on this album, with arrangements and piano from Jimmy Jones, and some great trumpet lines from Harry Edison! The sound is often nicely spare and laidback – letting Vaughan's vocals really come up strongly in the mix, and flow with a tremendously natural, but creatively dynamic style that really leaves us breathless. Titles include "Have You Met Miss Jones", "Somebody Else's Dream", "What Do You See In Her", "Jump For Joy", "Ain't No Use", "I'm Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life", and "When Your Lover Has Gone". CD