A set of music that's as groovy as you'd expect from the look of the cover – a quartet of French female singers, all working with legendary jazz arranger Claude Bolling – on work that's quite an unusual mix of modes! At some level, the quartet format makes for a jaunty approach to female French pop – with all the vocals coming together, to serve up the lyrics with lot of force! But Bolling also adds in some unusual inflections to the styles – sometimes a bit of trad jazz, but with a 60s mod spin – sometimes groovier, with a sweet Paris swing – over the course of some very cool material. CD features 19 tracks in all – and titles include "L'Oiseau Rare", "Les Parisiennes", "Java", "Jimmy brown", "L'Amerique Ca N'Est Pas Le Perou", "L'Argent Ne Fait Pas Le Bonheur", "Le Tunnel Sous La Manche", and "Le 30 Fevrier". (French, Vocalists)CD
A really fantastic album from singer Helen Merrill – and quite an obscure one as well! The set was recorded after Helen's initial burst to fame on the Mercury label in the 50s – and has her taking on a more laidback, more open-minded approach here in a very hip setting that includes a fair bit of work from guitarist Charlie Byrd – fresh off his fame of recording with Stan Getz, and able to bring some of his unique phrasing to the record in a really great way! The material is nicely varied – different than what Merrill would have recorded in the previous decade – and definitely indicates the step into hipper territory that some of the rising vocalists of the 60s, such as Nina Simone or Oscar Brown Jr, were taking at the time. Other musicians include Jimmy Giuffre on clarinet, Hal McKusick on flute, and Jimmy Raney on second guitar – and titles include "The River", "Minha Rocca", "Forbidden Games", "John Anderson My Love", "Cannetella", "Itsuki No Komoriuta", "Quiet Nights", and "Careless Love". 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
Dinah Washington —
In Tribute ... CD Roulette/Warner (Japan), 1962/1963. New Copy ...
The tribute here is to Dinah Washington herself – who left the planet all too soon, after passing away at an early age in 1963. The set brings together great late material that Dinah recorded for Roulette Records – tracks unissued at the time of this album, with beautiful arrangements from Marty Manning and Fred Norman – all in that new level of boozy sophistication that Washington was bringing to her music in the final years! The vocals are superb – very different than the earlier Mercury sides, but no less powerful – maybe even more so in their subtlety – and Henry Glover produced the record with a perfect balance of jazz and soul. Titles include "That Sunday", "I've Run Out Of Reasons", "Lingering", "They Said You Came Back Running", "Make Believe Dreams", "Lord You Made Us Human", and "Icy Stone". CD
The title's no lie – as the album has Sarah Vaughan exploding out right from the very first note – really swinging with Benny Carter arrangements that are filled with playful colors and grooves! The style's different than some of the moodier, mellow albums that Vaughan cut at the time – maybe a bit more like some of the sounds she'd cut for Mercury later in the 60s – and that undeniable Sarah Vaughan style comes through wonderfully next to Carter's creative charts – that sense of inflection and extension that makes each word of a tune almost feel more like an instrumental performance than a vocal one! Titles include "I Believe In You", "Moonlight On The Ganges", "The Lady's In Love With You", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "Garden In The Rain", "Nobody Else But Me", "Great Day", and "I'm Gonna Live Until I Die". CD
Sarah Vaughan —
Divine One ... CD Roulette/Warner (Japan), 1960. New Copy ...
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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