|Few fans today know that Carmen McRae was a gifted pianist as well as singer. Here she |
emotes from the keyboard during a late '50s gig. Photo from the NEA
I never liked Carmen McRae. Her hoarse, whisky-soaked voice never struck me as much more than one-dimensional. She seemed to sprechstimme her way through many of the tunes she performed. I much preferred Sarah Vaughan or Betty Carter. I only collected McRae records when they came my way gratis. Needless to say, my selection of Carmen material was pretty slim.
But then, my point of reference had always been the Atlantic sides that Carmen did in the '60s and '70s and the several she did for Mainstream afterward. They indeed showcased the later, roughened sound of McRae's voice and were an acquired taste in the way Etta Jones' in-tune/out-of-tune vocalizing is something one has to learn to hear. I never really learned to hear Carmen.
But then I found this record last week at a church thrift store in a town a few miles from where I live in the Catskills. I'm a changed man! This is Carmen McRae from 1959, and she is extraordinary. None of the coarse quality of her later recordings, no spoken lyrics. Carmen's voice here is fluid and lovely, filled with startling embellishments and superbly stated melodies.
|Dave Kapp ran his |
record label from
1954 to 1967.
As always, these tunes were ripped from the original vinyl with only a slight cleaning of the sound. Be forewarned here that there is occasional slight crackle on some of the selections.
McRae, v; Luther Henderson Jr. Orchestra; *Frank Hunter Orchestra probably with Don Abney, p; Joe Benjamin, b; Charles Smith, d.
New York, NY; 1959; Kapp KL1135
1. When You're Away
2. The More I See You
3. I Only Have Eyes for You*
5. If I Could Be with You*
6. I'll Be Seeing You
7. I Concentrate on You
8. Ain't Misbehavin'*
9. Every Time We Say Goodbye
10. When Your Lover Has Gone
11. I'm Glad There Is You*
12. Two Faces in the Dark*
Find it here: https://www.mediafire.com/?gn2faqy2x7n2y8d