Incredible early work from Lorez Alexandria
– the kind of albums that instantly set her apart from other singers of the 50s, reissued here properly for the first time in years! On This Is Lorez
, the singer is working with sublime small combo backings from the group of pianist King Fleming – an unusual Chicago ensemble that includes Wilber Wynn on guitar, Ronald Wilson on flute and oboe, Vernel Fournier on drums, and Audrey Jones on bongos – a musical lineup that brings in a different sort of sophistication to the record, shading tunes with moody colors on flute and oboe that perfectly support Alexandria
's soulful and sensitive interpretations of the tunes. The whole thing is pure genius, and a key look at the new levels of sophistication that were bubbling everywhere on the Chicago scene during the years of Jamal and Sun Ra. Lorez
Sings Pres follows in a very similar mode – with backing by a Chicago group that again includes King Fleming piano, plus Charles Stepney on vibes, Paul Serrano on trumpet, and Vernel Fournier on drums – an extremely hip lineup that makes the record far more than just the Lester Young tribute promised in the title! But despite the instrumentalists, the real star on all sides is Alexandria
– who sings with dark tones and deep colors that go far beyond conventional jazz vocals – all carried off with that slightly breathy mode that was one more unique aspect of her work! CD features all tracks from both albums – a total of 22 titles that include "Snowstorm", "I'm Glad There Is You", "The Sky Is Crying", "I'm Making Believe", "Necessity", "Penthouse Serenade", "DB Blues", "This Year's Kisses", "Easy Living", "No Eyes Blues", "Jumping With Symphony Sid", and a key early reading of "Baltimore Oriole".