Obscure & Neglected Female Singers Of Jazz & Standards (1930s to 1960s)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    I'm late to the party on this but I know, (or knew actually) Audrey Morris. She was married to my high school band director and they lived about one block from my house.
    Stu was a pro sax/flute/clarinet guy in town here and he was a just a great guy so me and a couple of other band guys would hang out at his house occasionally after school.

    That's how I met Audrey , but unfortunately I have no insightful stories about her. Our conversations were always of the mundane small talk sort of things you would say to anyone that was a generation older that you didn't really know well.
    Audrey was a great singer and she's still around the last time I checked .
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  2. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Her album on VIK is a masterpiece. Often available on Japan CD, then there is the Fresh Sounds version (different cover)



  3. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Valley Center, KS
    I just picked up Annie Ross and Zoot Sims' A Gasser! at a thrift shop with about 20 other Blue Note and World Pacific CD reissues digitally transferred by Ron McMaster for Capitol around 1988.

    I'm not half way through, but wow, it's a good one with superb support from Zoot Sims, Bill Perkins, Russ Freeman, Billy Bean, Jim Hall, Monty Budwig, and Mel Lewis among others.

    Recorded in 1959. This is definitely a good recording to start on Annie Ross solo.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  4. Mrtn77

    Mrtn77 Forum Resident

    European Union
    Jeanne Lee is a fantastic singer. While her later work with people like Marion Brown, Anthony Braxton, John Cage and Carla Bley has nothing to do with standards (and would most likely horrify many here), her chilling first album, with Ran Blake, "The Newest Sound Around", is full of them.
  5. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Love her dreamy and moody stuff where she is at her best:
    I Don't Want To Cry Anymore

    Please keep us posted on more of your finds, you like.
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  6. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Valley Center, KS
    There's a lot of good selections on A Gasser! It's very hard for me to pick a favorite this early. I had just played Nearer by a more contemporary singer for my daughter yesterday. I thought it was good, but Ross' version blew it away. The 1988 reissue appears to expand the original release to include everything Annie Ross, Sims and Freeman recorded in their four sessions. She does vocals on 10 selections and the other 5 are instrumentals that had been scattered across other albums. They are all well done.
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  7. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Thank you for this reference.

    This lady, Jeanne Lee, she was, I'd say, about 30 years ahead of her time.
    She is very interesting and distinctive:

    (I'd like to provide her with bass and drums in addition to piano, but it's too late now)

    Jeanne Lee With Ran Blake ~ Summertime

    This guy, Ran Blake, he was very selfish man and wanted her only to himself
    JEANNE LEE and RAN BLAKE - All About Ronnie - live Antibes 1963

    To fit into our list Jeanne Lee came up with another album: 1966 "Free Standards"


    Never heard such a version:
    Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee - A Taste Of Honey

    Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee - Corcovado

    Finally she was able to get away from her piano-man:

    (please, guys, listen to this - just 1:39 min)
    Jeanne Lee in "Escalator Over The Hill" 1971

    But he caught her again in recorded some kind of the best of... named 'You Stepped Out of a Cloud' in 1991 - out of print and costly.


    01 You Stepped out of a Dream

    This album was re-released in 2007, but that version nowhere can be found for any money.

    In 3 years they released another album full of old standards adding some never released before songs.
    This time he agree on bass inclusion, but only in 2 songs.



    This is excellent version:
    Jeanne Lee - Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
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  8. Stu02

    Stu02 Forum Resident

    I have a pretty obscure record here by a singer I don't know. Gerri Winters and her rather obviously titled lp "Winter's Here". I can't say it's love at first listen for me but I am starting to find charm in her husky care free voice
    The liner notes say she replaced June Christy in Kentons band in 51 but what happened to her as that can not have panned out for long as Chris Conner was with him in 53 or so. [​IMG]
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  9. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    That was an unusual concept art cover back then. White as Winter, years before the Beatles White Album.

    She was good!
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  10. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    We pay a lot of attention to Helen Carr at the thread, but...
    Helen Carr story didn't finish here.
    Just recently two independent Japanese companies Solid Records and Ultra-Vybe licensed from Verse/BMG 30 Bethlehem titles, remastered them and printed in the best Red Book format named UHQCD or Ultimate High Quality CD. Their series is called Bethlehem Deluxe Series.

    I bought 7 Jazz Vocal titles ($16.49), including:

    Betty Blake Betty Blake Sings in a Tender Mood (1961)
    Helen Carr Down In The Depth Of The 90th Floor (1955)
    Audrey Morris The Voice of Audrey Morris (1956)

    Please read more about this series and the complete list of the titles at the thread:
    "Ultimate HQCD (UHQCD) - new CD format, King Crimson on UHQCD and more" (Page 14, Post 341)
    Ultimate HQCD (UHQCD) - new CD format, King Crimson on UHQCD and more

    Also, Review on a sound (Page 14, Post 344)


    Finally, my long waiting for a new remaster has ended.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
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  11. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    My experience has been that sometimes these new Japanese issues sound far better than some previous Japanese issues, and sometimes they sound exactly the same. And sometimes they sound the same as a previous USA reissue. I've learned you cannot necessarily trust the high tech label (such as "Ultimate HQ" or other such). nor can you necessarily believe all listener reviews that may say the new one sounds superior. I have been caught spending my money too often for a disc with minimal if any sound upgrade, so I save my money. I wish the answers were more clear and you could actually do some synched A/B comparisons.
  12. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member


    Yoshiko Shinkura

    Yoshiko Shinkura was a popular Jazz singer and Japanese beauty during later 50's and early 60's.
    She appeared in a lot of movies at the time and get retired due to marriage in 1964.
    Her album 'All of Me' was released only 35 years later. It was reissued in 2005, went OOP and has never been re-released again:

    He Is Funny This Way

    All of Me
    新倉美子 - ALL OF ME

    On the Sunny side of the Street
    明るい表通りで- 新倉美子

    In the movies she played Jazz singers, at the time,
    but she reappeared in 70's to re-establish herself as a real Japanese actress:

    You Belongs to Me
    Yoshiko Shinkura - YOU BELONG TO ME
  13. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    I would like to see a 20 CD box set at a bargain price that reissues 10 to 20 Japanese jazz singers from the classic era. at least one, maybe two CDs per singer.
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  14. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks, Stu, for bringing her back into the discussion, and for adding biographical details of interest. Here we can see Jerri and Stan, along with two other folks (and one real big key!), in a photo dating from May of 1952:


    As you rightly surmised, she wasn't with Kenton for long -- just some three or four months, within the first half of 1952. (The LP's back cover does claim that she started out her Kenton period in 1951 and spent eight months with him. That's not what 1952 articles said, however. Her incorporation to the band was announced in February of that year.)

    In-between Jerri Winters and Chris Connor, at least two additional canaries occupied Kenton's perch. One of them was a singer that we've discussed here at great length, Helen Carr.

    Also worth mentioning here is an interesting, little known detail about "All About Ronnie." That song, which became Chris' signature number during her time with Kenton and also for the rest of the 1950s, was actually recorded first by Jerri with Kenton (about a year before Chris gave it a try).

    For the benefit of anyone else curious about Winters, I'll post below our previous messages about her. All two of them. In the first, she makes her thread debut, courtesy of Nathan Aaron. In the second, all her known albums are mentioned.

    (If anyone knows of any other old posts about Winters in this thread, just chime in. I tried to collect them all by doing a forum Search of the name Jerri Winters, but that wasn't too helpful ... I got swamped with messages about Jerry Garcia!!! ... Needless to say, I wasn't none too Grateful about that.)

    One more scattered point. As I was just reading the messages from the last few pages, I noticed that Carol Sloane's 1990s recording of "In the Wee Small Hours" was singled out, due to its inclusion of that song's verse. Well, on that count, Jerri "beat out" Carol by more than 30 years. Further details in one of the posts below.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  15. JazzFanatic

    JazzFanatic Jazz Expert

    Love this, "RidinHigh". Awesome photo...Stan had excellent taste in vocalists!
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
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  16. Stu02

    Stu02 Forum Resident

    Thanks for this I'm curious if you like her sound. I am finding her a bit of an acquired taste.
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  17. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Not at this thread...

    My favorite tune 'Kind Of Moody':

    3 more:

    Crazy In The Heart

    Dark Shadows

    I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good

    Victor Japan (JVC) released Mini LP version of 'Somebody Loves Me' in 2008:

    "[Bethlehem K2HD paper jacket series] The first stage 50 titles. Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) sleeve reissue from Jerri Winters featuring K2HD remastering and original center label design. A beautiful singer with Al Belletto Sextet, is a nostalgic solo debut whose singing and singing standards are backed by a small chorus. Recording in 1957. "

    Lucky to have it - sound is at the "Very Good" level:


    All Japan Mini LP CD always have an insert with lyrics:



    I hope Solid Record who started a new Bethlehem series of 30 titles (Post #1060), will continue and bring a new remaster in UHQCD format.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  18. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Nice post, Ridin'High... But what I like the most, how you put all of them together - thank you for that.

    I asked Ella to sing for you, Ridin'High

    By the way, please check my review on the new release Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook two discs Hybrid SACD at the thread:
    Analog Spark Hybrid SACDs - New Releases (Post #3)
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  19. Nathan Aaron

    Nathan Aaron Forum Resident

    - All this Jerri Winters talk got me to pull out my two LPs I own of her's and play them. I honestly just love her voice! But then I've got a thing for Chris Connor, June Christy, Donna Fuller, etc. so I must love some "throaty" female jazz singing! The Winter album is just excellent! That's the one I'm listening to as I type this.
  20. smallworld

    smallworld Forum Resident

    I'd be interested to know which CD reissue of Dolores Gray's "Warm Brandy" comes out tops for sound. I believe it was first reissued on CD in Japan in the mid 1990s. Then, it was released as a 2-on-1 CD in the UK by EMI, with Dolores sharing the bill with June Hutton (EMI makes me think NR...). 2007 brought the DRG release with bonus singles.

    An Amazon commenter writes of the DRG version:

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
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  21. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    So do many others. You named two of the most popular jazz singers of their era.
    Nathan Aaron likes this.
  22. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Joni James

    "Giovanna Carmella Babbo, 22 September 1930, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Growing up during the Depression years, James attended drama and dance lessons and organized a ballet club in high school. Following graduation, she worked as a dancer and began singing. In 1952 she recorded her first tracks for MGM Records, with the second single, ‘Why Don’t You Believe Me’, becoming a million-seller and a number 1 hit on the US pop charts. The hit was later covered by both Patti Page and Margaret Whiting. James next two singles, the double-sided hit ‘Have You Heard’/‘Wishing Ring’ and a cover of Hank Williams’ ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’, were also major hits. James hit the Top 10 four more times up to 1955 with ‘Almost Always’, ‘My Love, My Love’, ‘How Important Can It Be?’ and ‘You Are My Love’. James continued to record for MGM until 1964; when the hits stopped coming she retired from showbusiness for several years."

    I like more her third shut (#4 hit)
    "Have You Heard ?", then try...

    Joni was a multi-shooter, "during her 12 years recording for MGM Records, she sold over a 100 million records."
    She had her own recipes for success in the Standards, adding the right dose of sweetness to her very tender approach:

    "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach in 1933 for the show, Roberta, is from Joni James'1960 MGM album, 100 Strings & Joni on Broadway, recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London, England . The orchestra was led by Tony Acquaviva, who was Joni's husband". (comment)

    "Smoke Gets in your Eyes" Joni James

    "Although best known by the version recorded by Jo Stafford, " You Belong to Me "was also recorded in 1952 by the then 22 year old Joni James. Her version can be found on the album, Dedicated to You, a collection of her early hits..." (comment)
    You Belong to Me

    However, multi-shooters cannot hit the "bull eye" all the time. And if you're bumped on the "missed" number, you may be disappointed, like me:
    There was such a conversation at the thread a long time ago:

    - I have never been able to get into Joni James. Honestly, I just don't think the girl can sing! (Nathan Aaron)

    - "Joni has a voice but wasn't able to produce enough touching Spiritual Energy to move us (I mean you and me). She probably had a lot of problems in her live to think about during the singing..." (from my Post 189)

    - "Be that as it may be, Miss James doesn't need the approval of poor mortals such as the three of us. She has made lots and lots of records, including million sellers. She has also counted with the adoration of legions of fans (many of whom will swear that she is a fantastic vocalist)..." (Ridin'High)

    After reading all of that, Joni went very ambitious and came up with two pure Jazz albums: 'The Mood Is Blue' and 'After Hours'. Both are excellent albums and musically, and sound-wise.

    The Mood Is Blue

    Unfortunately, I couldn't find her version of 'I'm Nobody's Baby',
    but entire album is solid:

    Joni James - Don't Worry 'bout Me

    Joni James - All Of Me (1960)

    Joni James - Stormy Weather (With Lyrics)

    Joni James - Lover Man

    Joni James - I Get Along Without You Very Well (1961)

    After Hours

    If someone wants to get only one of her albums, this is one (with an excellent small group set up):
    (from the comment)
    "I must confess there are a lot of Joni's songs that I've never heard of....just like this one. This is my first time hearing it. Beautiful jazzy beat!"

    I Almost Lost My Mind

    Joni James "I Didn't Know What Time It Was"

    Joni James - Do Nothin' 'Till You Hear From Me

    (sorry for a bad audio)
    Joni James - Misty (1962)

    Thank you, Joni, you are a winner! I'm taking my words back...
    You left me no choice, but to buy these albums, and I did:






    Johnny James left a lot of materials for us to choose from ...
    And that is what we need to do - pick up the best.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  23. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    I have no problem with LP Time issues, but as Joni was a rare singer who owned ALL of her recordings, masters and all, she has authorized a wide range of reissues, from both Japan and the US. Check them out. Most are of high sound quality. The original LPs are fun to collect, because most of them had distinctive cover art or photos. Not too hard to find, as she was very popular.
  24. Stu02

    Stu02 Forum Resident

    Gosh I don't find her to be anything like Chris Conner or June christy. 2 of my favourite singers. I find them much cleaner crisp and cool sounding not much husky to my ears. Funny how people read differently into things.
    I am glad to see such support for jerri here
    I will keep at her. So to speak
  25. Stu02

    Stu02 Forum Resident

    I managed to find a Japanese lp of warm brandy about 3 years ago in Montreal (thanks to a certain Jaqueline jazz fan who lives there and recommended the shop) . It may be a little high on the syrup but I confess I love to listen to this record in the winter with a single malt rather then brandy and I may be a victim of marketing but I am content enough with that .... lush and to me sincere enough.
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