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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ERNESTINE ANDERSON

Swings The Penthouse

HighNote HCD 7273

 

 

1. You Make Me Feel So Young

2. It Could HappenTo You

3. I Fall In Love Too Easily

4. On Green Dolphin Street

5. Time After Time

6. Iíve Got The World On A String

7. Little Girl Blue

8. Just In Time

9. This Canít Be Love

10. Gone With The Wind

11. Angel Eyes

12. There Will Never Be Another You

13. Honeysuckle Rose


Ernestine Anderson - Vocals

Dick Palombi - Piano

Chuck Metcalf - Bass

Bill Richardson - Drums


In a career that stretches back to the late 1940s, and encompasses embryonic R&B, Ernestine Andersonís trajectory in the music business is filled with the vagaries that are associated with the genre. However, at the time of this never previously released recording from The Penthouse in Seattle in 1962, Andersonís voice was in full maturity. Consequently, this album offers a full house of vocals that are skilful and self-assured.

Backed by a trio of local musicians, they were, for the most part up to the task. However the bass was over-recorded, and the piano was decidedly out of tune, but Anderson nevertheless tackled each tune in equal measure with feeling and assertiveness. The opening track You Make Me Feel So Young has Chuck Metcalf setting the tone with a solid bass line, upon which Anderson builds her vocal in a mid-tempo groove. Moving into a slight Latin-beat on the opening chorus of On Green Dolphin Street, Anderson then takes the tune up a notch, backed by some Red Garland-like block chords from pianist Dick Palombi.

Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne wrote Time After Time in 1947 for the movie It Happened in Brooklyn and the song was introduced by Frank Sinatra. Anderson takes it as a moderately swinging ballad, done with elegance and a sense of purpose. Another beautifully done ballad, Little Girl Blue, is given a lengthy bluesy rendition, with Palombiís piano featured prominently in the foreground. Unfortunately since the piano is so wonky, it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the performance.

Anderson has great command of the material, and along with her vocal dexterity, demonstrated that she was an assertive vocalist with plenty of technique. So whether she was musing on Gone With The Wind, or delivering There Will Never Be Another You at a breakneck tempo, Anderson was always in control.

Despite some shortcomings, this welcomed release covers an undocumented gap in Ernestine Andersonís career.

Pierre Giroux



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