Albums

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Vocal Jazz - Released August 22, 1966 | Sähkö Recordings

Booklet
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | GRP Records

This CD features a logical combination: singer Diane Schuur with the Count Basie big band. In what would be longtime rhythm guitarist Freddie Green's final performance, Schuur and the Basie ghost band (under the direction of Frank Foster) perform material that includes her standards (such as "Deedles' Blues" and "Climbing Higher Mountains"), Dave Brubeck's "Travlin' Blues" and the Joe Williams-associated "Everyday I Have The Blues." Unfortunately, the Basie band is mostly used in accompaniment without any significant solos, but Schuur sounds quite comfortable in this format and her voice is in prime form. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Parlophone Catalogue

This CD will always be remembered for including Bobby McFerrin's surprise hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Actually, overall, this album is not quite up to the level of his previous two, for instead of taking unaccompanied vocals, the remarkable singer overdubbed his voice many times, which reduces the miraculous nature of his talents. However, McFerrin's renditions of "Drive My Car," "Drive," and "Sunshine of Your Love" (the program is quite diverse), plus the catchy "Don't Worry," are generally unique and worth hearing. ~ Scott Yanow
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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
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Pacific Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
To much of the pop (as opposed to the jazz) audience, Chet Baker was known not as an able cool jazz trumpeter, but as a romantic balladeer. The two classifications were not mutually exclusive; Baker's vocal numbers would also feature his trumpet playing, as well as fine instrumental support from West Coast cool jazzers. For those who prefer the vocal side of the Baker canon, this is an excellent compilation of his best vintage material in that mode. The 20 tracks draw from sessions covering the era when he was generally conceded to be at his vocal peak (1953-1956), and are dominated by standards from the likes of Rodgers & Hart, Carmichael, Gershwin, and Kern. Baker's singing was white and naïve in the best senses, with a quavering, uncertain earnestness that embodied a certain (safe) strain of mid-'50s bohemianism. That's the Baker heard on this collection, which contains some his most famous interpretations, including "My Funny Valentine," "Time After Time," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "Let's Get Lost." ~ Richie Unterberger
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Verve

Shirley Horn's second Verve recording consolidated the success that she had had with her previous release, I Thought About You, and resulted in her gaining a large audience for her ballad vocals and solid jazz piano playing. Performing with her usual trio (which includes bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams) and guest tenor Buck Hill on five of the 13 tracks, Horn is heard in definitive form throughout these studio sessions. Highlights include "Beautiful Friendship," "Baby, Baby All the Time," "This Can't Be Love," "I Wanna Be Loved," "But Beautiful," "Get out of Town," and "It Could Happen to You." ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 24, 1990 | RCA Victor

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Blue Note Records

When she wants to sing jazz, Dianne Reeves has always had the ability to reach the top of her field, but she has long seemed unable to make up her mind between jazz, R&B, world music, and pop. This Blue Note disc fortunately finds her mostly sticking to jazz and in consistently superb form. Reeves' treatments of such numbers as "Afro Blue" (which is particularly memorable), "Love for Sale," "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," "How High the Moon," and McCoy Tyner's "You Taught My Heart to Sing" all border on the classic. Joined by such illustrious sidemen as pianists Billy Childs, Mulgrew Miller, and Donald Brown; bassists Charnett Moffett and Chris Severin; and drummers Billy Kilson and Marvin "Smitty" Smith, plus guest appearances by vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, altoist Greg Osby, and guitarist Kevin Eubanks, Reeves sounds inspired by the company. If only she would stick to this direction. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 7, 1991 | ECM

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Vocal Jazz - Released March 18, 1991 | RCA Bluebird

The follow-up to the essential Carmen Sings Monk is a tribute to the recently deceased Sarah Vaughan that ranks at the same very high level. Carmen McRae's final recording finds the singer backed by the Shirley Horn Trio (unfortunately, Horn turned down McRae's request to sing a bit) on 13 numbers associated with Sassy, plus Carroll Coates' original "Sarah." On such songs as "Poor Butterfly," "Misty," "Tenderly," "I'll Be Seeing You" and even "Send in the Clowns," McRae brings back the spirit (and some of the phrasing) of Sarah Vaughan while still sounding very much like herself. This very well-conceived tribute is a classic of its kind and a perfect swan song for Carmen McRae. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Capitol Records

Rachelle Ferrell wore two hats in the 1990s: straight-ahead jazz singer and commercial R&B/pop singer along the lines of Anita Baker, Miki Howard, and Angela Bofill. Produced mostly by George Duke, this self-titled album is an example of her R&B/pop side. With this smooth, classy effort, Manhattan/Capitol was obviously intent on appealing to the more adult-oriented tastes in the urban contemporary market. While artists like Mary J. Blige, Bell Biv DeVoe, Babyface, and Janet Jackson were making R&B relevant to hip-hoppers, Ferrell opted for maximum quiet storm appeal with this album. If you were buying a lot of Baker, Luther Vandross, and Freddie Jackson albums in the early '90s (along with some Grover Washington, Jr. and Joe Sample, perhaps), you were exactly the type of listener Manhattan/Capitol had in mind with sophisticated numbers like "It Only Took a Minute," "'Til You Come Back to Me," and "Sentimental." Most of the songs are appropriate vehicles for the Philadelphian's big, rich voice, but while this collection of mood music isn't bad, it isn't the gem that Ferrell had the ability to deliver. As pleasant and likable as much of the material is, one got the impression that she was capable of a lot more. ~ Alex Henderson

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | September

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Blue Note Records

Christmas Is the Time is a collection of all-new seasonal recordings featuring performances of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "O Holy Night," "Winter Wonderland" and "Auld Lang Syne" -- a worthy successor to Rawls' 1965 set Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho! ~ Jason Ankeny
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
For an overview of Nat "King" Cole's years as a remarkably popular singer, this four-CD box would be difficult to top. Containing 100 songs spanning a 20-year period, this box has virtually all of Cole's hits, some of his best jazz sides, and more than its share of variety, including a humorous previously unreleased version of "Mr. Cole Won't Rock & Roll." Recommended to beginners and veteran collectors alike, its attractive booklet is also a major asset. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Vocalist Blossom Dearie's Summetime is a low-key collection of chamber-jazz arranged for a small trio. Working with guitarist Mundell Lowe, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Ed Thigpen, Dearie sings the material with a gentle conviction; she may never sound passionate, but she never sounds like she doesn't care. The result is a pleasant record, that might never be a compelling listen, but it's never a bad one. ~ Thom Owens
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Vocal Jazz - Released July 13, 1993 | Legacy - Columbia

16 Most Requested Songs is a midline-priced collection that spotlights many of Sarah Vaughan's best-known and most popular performances for Columbia Records, including "Black Coffee," "Summertime," "The Nearness of You," "Goodnight My Love," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Thinking of You," "Vanity," "Pinky," "Sinner or Saint," "My Tormented Heart" and "Spring Will Be a Little Late." Although it's far from a perfect retrospective of her career, it's still a nice sampler of familiar items, and it may satisfy the needs of some casual fans who only want the hits. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Vocal Jazz - Released August 2, 1993 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
These recordings can be considered the final ones of Betty Carter's early period for, by the time she next appeared on record (in 1969), the singer was much more adventurous in her improvisations. This CD reissues eight selections from Carter's rather brief 1964 Roulette LP (under 26 minutes), plus it adds seven previously unissued numbers from 1965. On the former date Carter (who is quite memorable on "This Is Always," "Some Other Time," and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most") is accompanied by pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Roy McCurdy, while the "new" session ("There Is No Greater Love" and "You're a Sweetheart" are the standouts) features guitarist Kenny Burrell plus an unknown rhythm section in the backup band. Highly recommended to Betty Carter fans and to those listeners who find her later work somewhat forbidding. ~ Scott Yanow

Genre

Vocal Jazz in the magazine