My Foolish Heart
I was Doing All Right
Summer is Gone
I'm Putting All my Eggs in One Basket
Until the real thing comes Along
Even if it Breaks my Heart
Lilacs in the Rain
All This could lead to Love.
Carmen McRae was a jazz singer from the big league; her work can be compared
with that of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billy Holiday, now sadly
all of them have passed on. Fortunately each of them left us a legacy of
superb recordings of which this is one.
Carmen's start in the music business was identical to that of Ella Fitzgerald,
she appeared in the Amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in New York, her
home town. In the audience were pianist Teddy Wilson and his Songwriter wife
Irene Kitchings, they were impressed and gave a help to her start in the
business. She had studied piano as a child, because her parents had hoped
she would have a career in classical music. The lessons and the practice
were not wasted however; early in her career she had a job at Minton's Playhouse
as an intermission pianist and throughout her career she continued to play
the instrument at some stage in her live performances. Her pitching and diction
were faultless and even when some of the arrangements on this session are
not exactly what she might have chosen; she always delivers the goods.
The album was first released in 1956 on the Decca label and from that time
right up to the 1980's, she continued to record high quality albums. Many
jazz artistes were under pressure in the 1970's and 80's to move towards
rock, folk or pop music, but Carmen continued to record the jazz that she
was dedicated to.
Some of the backings on this album are arranged and played by 'early day
be-bopper,' pianist Tadd Dameron, the remainder by Jimmy Mundy, with an Orchestra
that included strings.
The quality of the material here is variable, but the quality of performance
is not: Carmen could make the dullest song sound wonderful. She also had
that quality which only the true greats have; she made it all sound so easy!
This is an essential album for the serious jazz listener.
Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and Bandleader based in