Two early gems from Carmen McRae – back to back on one CD! Torchy is a wonderfully titled set that's certainly plenty torchy all the way through! Carmen's singing in a lush, romantic style – working with backings from Jack Pleis and Ralph Burns – in a mode that features larger orchestrations, but which still very much has Carmen's vocals at the top of the mix. As was well demonstrated by Carmen in many later recordings, she hardly needs a band to help her set a mood – and on this set, although the orchestra is large, they're there mostly to color in the spaces between the notes, and create more of backdrop for Carmen's evocative vocals. Titles include "But Beautiful", "Midnight Sun
", "My Future Just Passed", "Yesterdays", "Star Eyes", "We'll Be Together Again", and "Speak Low". Blue Moon is some of the hippest early work ever cut by Carmen McRae – with backings by Tadd Dameron and Jimmy Mundy, and a great selection of songs that brings out all the sophistication in Carmen's style, yet stays away from overly-done standards and love numbers. The set's a perfect example of how great Carmen could be in the right setting – and it's filled with great tracks like "All This Could Lead To Love", "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket", "Summer Is Gone", "I Was Doing All Right", and "Even If It Breaks My Heart".