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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | RCA Bluebird

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Carmen McRae, a good friend of Thelonious Monk, sang 13 of his songs (two of which are also heard in different live versions) on this memorable project. Half of the lyrics are by Jon Hendricks, while the remainder were written by Abbey Lincoln ("Blue Monk"), Bernie Hanighen, Sally Swisher, or Mike Ferro. On all but the two concert performances, McRae is assisted by tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, pianist Eric Gunnison, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Al Foster; Mraz's solos are particularly impressive, although everyone is in sensitive form. The live recordings give listeners two more chances to acknowledge the uniqueness of tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse's tone. As for McRae, her phrasing has rarely sounded better than on this classic set, and it is a particular pleasure to hear her interpret the intelligent lyrics and unusual melodies. "Dear Ruby" ("Ruby, My Dear") and "Listen to Monk" ("Rhythm-A-Ning") are among the high points of the essential and very delightful CD. An inspired idea and one of the best recordings of Carmen McRae's career. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 1, 1972 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
On this popular two-LP set, singer Carmen McRae interprets songs by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Michel Legrand, Warren & Dubin, Henry Mancini, and Jimmy Van Heusen, among others, but it is her rendition of a humorous Jimmy Rowles novelty ("The Ballad of Thelonious Monk") that is best remembered. Joined by pianist Rowles, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Chuck Domanico, and drummer Chuck Flores, McRae had what was at the time a rare opportunity to record a live, spontaneous, jazz-oriented set. She sounds quite enthusiastic about both her accompaniment and the strong repertoire, which includes "At Long Last Love," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Sunday," "I Cried for You," and "I Thought About You." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 20, 1956 | Verve Reissues

Much of the music on this excellent (but obscure) Carmen McRae LP has not been reissued, and certainly not in complete form. Accompanied by an orchestra arranged and conducted by either Tadd Dameron or Jimmy Mundy, McRae performs both standards and obscurities, ballads and medium-tempo tunes. The big band is pretty anonymous but fine in ensemble work; the main focus is on the singer's voice anyway. Highlights include "Blue Moon," "My Foolish Heart," "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket" and Mundell Lowe's "All This Could Lead to Love." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

In the late '60s Carmen McRae signed up with Atlantic Records and turned the creative reins over to producer Joel Dorn for 1967's For Once in My Life. The record is made up mostly of contemporary songs by Bacharach/David, Brian Wilson, the Beatles, and Buffy Sainte-Marie, and at first glance one might think that the record is just a callow attempt to jump on the pop bandwagon. One would be wrong because the record is a success whatever the intentions. McRae's voice is not as sweet as it once was but she is as incredible an interpreter of songs as ever. With Dorn mostly providing restrained and sometimes groovy backings, she turns in some wonderful performances. The two Beach Boys songs are heartbreaking; "Don't Talk" is one of the better covers of a Wilson song you are liable to hear. "Come Live With Me" is a swinging number that sounds like something Sammy Davis, Jr. would have torn up around this time. Leiber & Stoller's "Flying" is another light and smooth that works very well. The only song that falls flat is the Vegas-style take on the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life," where Dorn lays on the glitz and Carmen sounds lost. While there isn't a whole lot of jazz to be found here, fans of McRae shouldn't be scared off by the songs or the era as this is actually one of the better albums she recorded in the second half of her career. [The album was reissued as part of a two-disc set (The Art of Carmen McRae/For Once in My Life) with a collection of McRae's Atlantic-era recordings making up the other disc.] © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 1, 1972 | Rhino Atlantic

On this popular two-LP set, singer Carmen McRae interprets songs by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Michel Legrand, Warren & Dubin, Henry Mancini, and Jimmy Van Heusen, among others, but it is her rendition of a humorous Jimmy Rowles novelty ("The Ballad of Thelonious Monk") that is best remembered. Joined by pianist Rowles, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Chuck Domanico, and drummer Chuck Flores, McRae had what was at the time a rare opportunity to record a live, spontaneous, jazz-oriented set. She sounds quite enthusiastic about both her accompaniment and the strong repertoire, which includes "At Long Last Love," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Sunday," "I Cried for You," and "I Thought About You." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Verve

An in-depth 19-track overview of the career of jazz vocalist Carmen McRae, demonstrating her bebop-influenced vocal styling ranging from blues ballads to fluid bop scat. Part of the Verve Finest Hour series, this well-presented album is a fine introduction to the artist at an affordable price. © Zac Johnson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1977 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Carmen McRae has always shined on stage, and this fine account of her 1976 three-night stand at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco proves the point. Couched in that stellar Blue Note sound, McRae ranges far and wide on a set of standards. And McRae not only spices things up with an impressive reading of the bossa nova standard "Dindi," but she even goes completely out of her expected domain with a version of the Alice Cooper ballad "Only Woman Bleed" -- interesting, to say the least. Surprisingly, though, she turns this FM hit into one of the most effective performances here. The whole recording is remarkable, for that matter. And this, no doubt, can be traced to the McRae's choice of backing, which includes the venerable Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and future drumming heavyweight Joey Baron. A must for McRae fans. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1977 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Carmen McRae has always shined on stage, and this fine account of her 1976 three-night stand at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco proves the point. Couched in that stellar Blue Note sound, McRae ranges far and wide on a set of standards. And McRae not only spices things up with an impressive reading of the bossa nova standard "Dindi," but she even goes completely out of her expected domain with a version of the Alice Cooper ballad "Only Woman Bleed" -- interesting, to say the least. Surprisingly, though, she turns this FM hit into one of the most effective performances here. The whole recording is remarkable, for that matter. And this, no doubt, can be traced to the McRae's choice of backing, which includes the venerable Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and future drumming heavyweight Joey Baron. A must for McRae fans. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 30, 2011 | Classic Music International

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve Reissues

Carmen McRae is in great form on these 1957 studio sessions with a jazz group and orchestra conducted by Fred Katz. Her rich voice is never overpowered by the 13 strings, which for the most part stay behind the singer and the jazz instrumentalists. The strongest tracks include a swinging "All the Things You Are" (backed by some interesting writing for the reed section), an unusual treatment of "What's New" (featuring vibraphonist Larry Bunker and Joe Marino on celeste), a particularly dark version of "The Night We Called It a Day" (featuring Katz on cello), and a moving "I Remember Clifford," a fairly new piece which Benny Golson had recently composed following the tragic death of Clifford Brown. Even the obscure songs of these sessions, which include "A Shoulder to Cry On" and "Without a Word of Warning," are worth investigating. Unfortunately, only a few of these tracks have been reissued as a part of the compilation I'll Be Seeing You, though the Japanese division of Universal reissued this long out-of-print session in a beautifully packaged mini-LP-type sleeve in 2001. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Verve Reissues

Romantic ballads were Carmen McRae's specialty, and her streetwise yet sophisticated phrasing carried just enough world-weariness to suggest that she actually understood what she was singing about (being in love or having been in love doesn't automatically mean you can convincingly sing about it -- McRae could, though). This collection of mid- to late-'50s material for Decca Records doubles both as a collection of love songs and as a fine introduction to the singer in her early years -- when she still had full control of her upper vocal register. With impeccable jazz backing, songs here like "When I Fall in Love," "If Love Is Good to Me," "My Funny Valentine," and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" are given beautiful and definitive readings by McRae. "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," from 1958's Birds of a Feather album, is a particular delight, thanks to a wonderful arrangement and the presence of horn men Irwin "Marky" Markowitz (trumpet), Tony Miranda (French horn), and Ben Webster, whose tenor saxophone lead line toward the end of the song literally becomes the voice of the nightingale. Sleek, moving, and sophisticated, Carmen McRae for Lovers is a concise introduction to a marvelous singer covering the kind of material that she did best. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released March 25, 2016 | Westmill

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Pop - Released January 1, 1955 | Verve Reissues

Carmen McRae comes into her own on the aptly titled Torchy, a lush, potently atmospheric collection of romantic ballads rendered for maximum impact. Although Jack Pleis and Ralph Burns' full, rich arrangements firmly establish the record's plaintive urgency, the sheer intensity of McRae's vocals render orchestration virtually moot. Few singers have equaled her conviction or her fierce intelligence, and her interpretations of songs like "But Beautiful," "My Future Just Passed," and "We'll Be Together Again" pack a devastating emotional punch. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1958 | GRP

The Book of Ballads in question is the Great American Songbook, and Carmen McRae breathes new life into some of its most dog-eared pages on this wonderful session that heralded the close of her Kapp Records tenure. McRae tackles material like "When I Fall in Love," "Isn't It Romantic?" and "How Long Has This Been Going On?" with uncommon care and intelligence, summoning rich new meaning from the familiar lyrics. In her hands, the songs pulse with energy and life. Arranger Frank Hunter and a supporting trio led by pianist Don Abney also merit commendation for nuanced, evocative backings that afford McRae the necessary space to do her thing. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 1, 2012 | Fresh Sound Records