From Anita & Ella To Nina & Sassy: Celebrated Songstresses Of Jazz & Standards

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Betty Carter
    June Christy
    Rosemary Clooney
    Chris Connor
    Doris Day
    Blossom Dearie
    Ella Fitzgerald
    Judy Garland
    Eydie Gorme
    Billie Holiday
    Shirley Horn
    Lena Horne
    Eartha Kitt

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Peggy Lee
    Abby Lincoln
    Julie London
    Carmen McRae
    Ethel Merman
    Helen Merrill
    Anita O'Day
    Patti Page
    Dinah Shore
    Nina Simone
    Keely Smith
    Jeri Southern
    Jo Stafford
    Kay Starr
    Dakota Staton
    Barbra Streisand
    Sarah Vaughan
    Dinah Washington
    Margaret Whiting
    Nancy Wilson


    All the singers listed above have their own threads in this music forum. In that sense, they have been celebrated here. However, most of their individual threads seem dead; rarely does anybody show up to add anything to them.

    I am hoping that this new thread can be a place to talk about any and all of these singers with regularity. Should we give it a try?

    You can talk or ask about anything pertaining to them here, be it their albums and singles, their lives and deaths, favorite interpretations or even hated ones, etc., etc., etc.

    I limited the list to female singers from the golden era of this type of music (jazz & standards). However, if you want to mention celebrated jazz songstresses of more recent times, such as Cassandra Wilson, Diane Reeves, or Diana Kral, feel free to go ahead.

    Songbook & jazz singers who do not have their individual threads in this forum (for example, Lorez Alexandria, Mildred Bailey, Della Reese, Ethel Waters) are being jointly discussed in a separate thread: Obscure & Neglected Female Singers Of Jazz & Standards (1930s to 1960s) . But, if you feel like mentioning any of them here instead, no big deal.

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  2. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    Rugolo was the man.
    efhjr, juanmanuel, fenderesq and 2 others like this.
  3. Otlset

    Otlset Forum Resident

    Gogi Grant belongs in this list I think.

    I first got her "Granted It's Gogi" (1960) LP years ago at the local thrift. It's a very well recorded LP of standards and such, genuine 'audiophile' quality, and I really like it. I got her other RCA album "Torch Time" (1959) later, and although quite good for the genre, I prefer the former.

    She first scored a #1 hit "The Wayward Wind" in 1956, then had a few others, sang the vocal track for "The Helen Morgan Story" and later these two albums followed. She faded from the scene in the late '60s.

    toilet_doctor and Ridin'High like this.
  4. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Last Friday saw the official release of a brand new Ella Fitzgerald CD. Ella at Zardi's contains a 1956 concert that had never ever been released before. According to press releases and other sources, Ella's manager and label owner Norman Granz originally planned to turn this concert into Ella's very first album on his Verve Records. But Cole Porter and his songbook ended up "usurping" that role, and the poor princely Zardi remained emprisoned in Granz' dungeon (aka Verve vault) for 60 years, until the heroic Universal folk group came to the rescue. Hail the Prisoner of Zardi!


    Anyone already has it? Opinions? I haven't ordered it yet, but I've listened to the tracks on the web. As expected, it's a fine concert. I will be ordering the CD eventually.

    For big Ella fans, the track of greatest interest might be "It All Depends on You," because she has no other versions of that song. It's a fine enough interpretation; she treats it as an uptempo rather than a ballad.

    There are two other tracks for which we previously had only one interpretation (I think) from Ella: "Cry Me a River" and "Why Don't You Do Right?" I love all those new fun lyrics from Ella's version of "Why Don't You Do Right", starting with the very rhythmic intro ("it was back in 1922 ... but it's now 1956 ... stop doing tricks").

    The mellow manner in which she does this 1956 version of "Cry Me a River" reminded me a little bit of her singing in her earlier Gershwin songbook with Ellis Larkins. She adds one line of lyric to the song, presumably made up by her ("tell you what, you will have to do").

    Her other version of "Cry Me a River" is from one of her very best albums, Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie (1961). That version is a bit more boppish, and less restrained. I prefer the Zardi's version, although the Charlie version has some particular line readings that I love the best (especially, the way she phrases the words "now, now you say you love me," in the middle of the song). Also, and interestingly, the 1961 version adds not merely one line but a full verse of new lyrics ("if my pillow could talk, imagine what it would have said, could be a river of tears [that] I cried in bed").

    So, I do like both Ella interpretations, although I still prefer the Julie London version over them. I'm glad, though, to hear Ella lay claim to the song that she (rather than Julie) was supposed to sing first. Personal preferences aside, both singers do very well, of course, and they would probably approve of each others' versions. As they would sing, "Can't We Be Friends?"

  5. kinkling

    kinkling Forum Resident

    How about Teresa Brewer, Ruth Brown, and Della Reese?
  6. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    One relatively new label from Spain named Jackpot Records tried hard to fit its name and they definitely hit bull eye with a recent release:

    Ertha Kitt Down to Earth + St. Louis Blues 8436542015837





    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  7. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  8. Ignatius

    Ignatius Forum Resident

  9. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    OK, guys... Let me explain.

    There are 3 corresponding threads related to each other and started by the same thread starter:

    1. Obscure & Neglected Female Singers Of Jazz & Standards (1930s to 1960s) It covers obscure and neglected singers until 1970 who don't have dedicated tread at the forum.

    2. This one (Tread #2): From Anita & Ella To Nina & Sassy: Celebrated Songstresses Of Jazz & Standards covers more famous singers and those who have dedicated thread.

    3. Singers of Jazz & Standards (1970-2020) covers all singers from 1970 to present.

    So, where can we talk about Karin Krog?
    Karin was discussed already at contemporary Thread #3, as most of her recordings were made after 70's.

    Gogi Grant is obscure and neglected singer without dedicated tread she goes to the Tread #1

    How about Teresa Brewer, Ruth Brown, and Della Reese? - Tread #1

    Please everybody read Post #1 at each tread and make your posts accordingly in the list at that post.


    Please put in the search the name of the singer (Teresa Brewer, for instance) and all posts about her will pop-up.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  10. Ignatius

    Ignatius Forum Resident

    It was my understanding there would be no math.
  11. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    Liberated Ella

    "It's been my pleasure to make this little
    announcement because it's one of the few
    announcements I can honestly make.
    This is for real... For me she is the greatest...

    there is - Miss Ella Fitzgerald!"

    (Norman Granz - from the concert introduction)

    Thanks for your comments and nice picture, Ridin'High.
    I finally unwrapped my Japanese version of SHM, and I'm glad that I risked buying this expensive release.




    Before getting Ella for his new label named Verve, Nornan Granz has already been Ella's manager for 6 years. And he coped very well with this live recording. Add to this modern mastering and neat production, and you'll get an excellent sounding live concert that can beat a lot of studio albums, recorded now.

    The sound in this Stereo recording is open, airy and well balanced with good dynamics and a well-presented bass. Ella is in front; the trebles are free of brightness, which gives you a chance to catch more details and nuances of Ella's voice. Zardi's good acoustic also helped.

    I'd say, if Mr. Grantz introduces Ella in the concert, expect a good sound.

    "Zardi's was one of the better L.A. room of the time...
    ...The pianist Don Abney (1923-2000) headed Ella's trio - appeared with Ella year before in Jack Webb's 'Pete Kelly's Blues'. Vernon Alley (1915-2004) was San Francisco's go-to mainstream jazz bassist. Frankie Capp (1931) worked with Stan Kenton and Peggy Lee bands before he came to Ella
    ." (from the liner notes)

    The concert was sentenced to 60 years on the shelf without the possibility of parole.
    When I said: Liberated Ella, I was referring not only to the fact that the concert was finally released now, but also Ella personally, back then... from the Decca's directions and conditions:

    "Grantz saw potential [Ella could do better] and used a legal advantage to break her contract.
    In the summer of 1955, 'The Benny Goodman Story' was in production and the stars of the Decca soundtrack - Stan Getz, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa - were all under exclusive contracts to Grantz.
    When Decca finally came to him with hat-in-hand, Granz was able land Ella for his own label
    ." (from the liner notes)

    What distinguishes this concert from many, many others? - two things:
    Ella took requests from audience for real, performing anything from scratch without any rehearsal, improvising and substituting the lyrics (she did not know) on the way.
    To my surprise, even in the scat-based numbers (only two here) she was very tasteful and didn't jump overboard.
    38 at the time, she was on the top of her game, she was humorous and funny... She was fun.
    Each number here is unique and different from the previous versions. One requested 'A-Tisket, A-Tasket', but Ella was able to make fun of it too. Often she went up and down, changing the tempo, leaving me amazed how her band was able to keep up with her, playing it for the first time.

    Yes, Ella was in a liberty to sing whatever she wanted, but, unfortunately, Norman Granz was not in a liberty to publish it.

    Spontaneous and funny Ella

    Ella's musical parodies (on singers Rose Murphy and Louis Armstrong):
    Rose Murphy herself
    I can't give you anything but love, baby (Rose Murphy)

    I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Live At Zardi’s/1956)

    My favorite
    Tenderly (Live At Zardi’s/1956)

    "This lost album stand tall among her many live recordings, living up to every word of Granz's heartfelt introduction." -- KirK Silsbee

    "Buy or Die" real Centennial release.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
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  12. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    Nancy Wilson
    Carmen McRae
    Annie Lambert
    Dinah Washington
    Alice Cooper
    John Porcellino likes this.
  13. jazzyvocalfan

    jazzyvocalfan Well-Known Member

    Columbus, Ohio
    .crystalised. and toilet_doctor like this.
  14. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    Nice link, thank you.

    Just copy them here, guys.

  15. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    Warner Japan Jazz Masters Collection 1200 SHM-CD Low-priced Reissue Series

    "How about listening to them again,
    this time with the high-quality sound?"

    (Warner, Japan)

    "Jazz Masters Collection 1200 Low-priced reissue with SHM-CD format and new remastering. Comes with a mini-description." [and Lyrics] (about $11)

    The Series was running from June 29, 2016 to July 26, 2017. For about a year Warner released about 300 titles. Many Jazz Vocal titles are rarities and some were released on CD for a first time. ("Dinah '63", "Dinah Washington", and "In Tribute" come to mind - two last ones were released in 1963 right after her death in 1963 at the age of 39).

    Jazz Vocal Titles

    June 29, 2016 (Vol. 1)

    Mary Anne McCall Detour to the Moon (1958)
    Billy Ecktine Once More with Feeling (1960)
    Beverly Kenney Sings For Johnny Smith
    Della Reese Date with Della Reese at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago (1958)
    Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington Great Reunion
    Chris Connor Chris Connor
    Nina Simone At Town Hall (Live in NY, Sep. 1958)
    Dinah Washington Dinah '62 (1962)
    Sarah Vaughan Dreamy (1960)
    Sarah Vaughan After Hours

    Aug. 8, 2016 (Vol.2)

    Beverly Kenney with Jimmy Jones and the Basie-ites

    July 27, 2016 (Vol.2)

    Billy Eckstine No Cover, No Minimum ( Live in L.A. 'New Frontier Hotel' 1960)
    Beverly Kenney Come Swing with Me (1956)
    Della Reese Story Of The Blues (1958)
    Etta Jones Sings with Junior Mance, Kenny Burrell... (1965)
    Monica Lewis But Beautiful (1955)
    Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington Together For The First Time
    Chris Connor Portrait of Chris (1960)
    Chris Connor Weekend in Paris (1963)
    Folksy Nina
    Dinah Washington Dinah '63 (1963)
    Sarah Vaughan Sarah
    Sarah Vaughan The Divine One

    Oct. 26, 2016 (Vol. 3)

    Ethel Ennis Lullabies For Losers (1955)
    Ilene Woods It's Late (1956)
    Dinah Washington In Love
    Nina Simone At Newport - Live Album
    Nina Simone Forbidden Fruit

    Nov. 23, 2016 (Vol. 4)

    Della Reese Melancholy Baby (1955)
    Lu Ann Sims At Separate Tables
    Joanie Sommers Positive The Most (1959)
    Dinah Washington Back To The Blues (1962)
    Nina Simone At The Village Gate
    Sarah Vaughan The Explosive Side Of Sarah Vaughan
    Sarah Vaughan You're Mine You

    Jan. 25, 2017 (Vol.5)

    Betty St. Clair What Is That To Say
    Della Reese What Do You Know About?
    Dinah Washington Drinking Again
    Nina Simone Amazing Nina Simone (1959)
    Sarah Vaughan Star Eyes

    Feb. 22, 2017 (Vol.6)

    Dinah Washington In Tribute (1963)
    Nina Simone Sings Ellington (1959)
    Sarah Vaughan The Lonely Hours (1963)

    Apr. 26, 2017 (Vol.7)

    Cora Lee Day My Crying Hour (1960)
    Martha Hayes A Hayes Named Martha (1955)
    Nina Simone Nina Simone At Carnegie Hall (1963)
    Dinah Washington [Last Album] (1962-63)
    Sarah Vaughan Sweet 'N' Sassy (1963)

    May 24, 2017 (Vol.8)

    Anne Phillips Born to be Blue
    Della Reese And That Reminds Me
    Nina Simone Nina Simone with String
    Sarah Vaughan Sarah Sings Soulfully
    Jimmy Rushing Five feet of Soul

    June 21, 2017 (Vol.9)

    Rosemary Squires Everything's Coming Up Rosie
    Della Reese Amen!
    Jerry Southern Meets Johnny Smith

    July 26, 2017 (Vol.10)

    Ann Richards Ann, Man!
    Helen Merrill American Country Songs
    Chris Connor Chris Craft
    Chris Connor Misty
    Maynard Ferguson & Chris Connor Two Is Company (cancelled)
    Ella Fitzgerald Things Ain't What They Used To Be (and You Better Believe It)
    Carmen McRae Sound of Silence + 2
    Sarah Vaughan Snowbound
    Mel Torme Coming Home Baby!

    I bought almost all of them. Price was about 10.80 and shipping under $2 a piece (EMS for the multiply purchase).

    Dinah and Sarah CDs:


    CDJapan : | Over 300 Jazz Masterpieces on SHM-CD Low-priced Reissues Complete Listings

    SQ is min at the Very Good level.
  16. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    (from two different threads)
    Warner Japan released 4 Atlantic and 2 Roulette (Live) Chris Connor albums in the "Jazz Masters Collection 1200" series. Here they are with SQ rating:

    Misty - Best
    Portrait of Chris Connor - Best
    Chris Craft - Very Good
    Chris Connor - Good*

    At the Village Gate - Very Good
    A Weekend in Paris - Very Good

    * Chris Connor S/T album has some flow: a sound drop in one channel in Track 3 and 5 - Chris here sounds like she's standing behind the stage. Otherwise, it could be in the "Very Good" section.



    First I tried the SHM releases. Then I put Complete Singles Blue Moon, Spain new release (a very nice digipak edition, by the way). 24 singles sounded mostly at the level of "Very Good", while some of them are only "Good" with less clear sound.
    Some vocal brightness (more or less) can be heard in all releases. In albums Misty and Portrait it was almost unnoticeable.
    Then I put SHM again: they all sounded more precise, crispier with better separation between the instruments - this is a major difference, immediately noticeable.
    I'd say that Complete Singles sounded absolutely fine, but (in comparison) SHM makes them seem slightly muffled.


    The last two SHM releases are still available for $ 10.75 in Japan:
    CDJapan : Search result by ( Chris Connor SHM ) OR "Chris Connor SHM"
    Some can be found on eBay.
    (One more SHM release of Roulette album "Two's Company" has been cancelled).

    In addition, it's worth to check out the new Chris Connor releases w/2017 remastering by independent Japanese label Solid Records in the newest UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality CD) format (improved SHM by adding one more Photopolymer layer).

    (from the UHQCD thread)
    Bethlehem Premium Essential UHQCD Series
    Chris (1954) - Best/Very Good
    Lullabys of Birdland (1954) - Very Good
    This Is Chris (1955) - Very Good


    All 3 UHQCDs were recently released and still available in Japan for retail of $16.12
  17. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Valley Center, KS
    Tenderly is lovely indeed. It's also so cool to hear her having fun and then melt you. Beautiful.

    I'm just going to let these songs play on and on for a while and carry me far far away.

    Thanks for sharing a long lost treasure!
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  18. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    Of course you underestimated her. She is #4 in my Top 10:

    Billie Holiday
    Dinah Washington
    Jo Stafford
    Kay Starr
    Mildred Bailey
    Peggy Lee
    Julie London
    Rosemary Clooney
    Brenda Lee
    Chris Connor

    I know how hard to put one singer over the another one, when you love them all, but I did it and it's fun to try.
    Eric Carlson likes this.
  19. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    I think this thread can be really missing part of our Obscure and Neglected thread.
    I'm going to post here, when I'll get a chance.
    Eric Carlson likes this.
  20. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Valley Center, KS
    So imagine. If you could request Ella Fitzgerald to sing just one song at Zardi's, what would it be?

    For me today it would be Midnight Sun by Johnny Mercer, Lionel Hampton, and Sonny Burke.

    I have my reasons.
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  21. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    I would request this one:

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  22. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Valley Center, KS
    Or she could sing it like this with Oscar Peterson 18 years later at age 58 and I'd love it just as much.

    toilet_doctor likes this.
  23. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    After Uni and EMI merged in 2013, Euro commission forced them to sell some their assets. As a result Parlofone, Roulette, Rooster, Jubilee, Colpix are belong to Warner now.
    To prove that it was a right decision, Warner ramastered and released in SHM many of these labels' albums alongside with some their own Atlantic and Reprise ones. Each booklet has English lyrics, which is very rare for 50-60 years old albums. Excellent SQ easily justified the price ($11.29 currently).
  24. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor "Rockin' chair's got me"

    In 1970 Ella went pop and R&B telling the world:

    "Things Ain't What They Used To Be (And You Better Believe It)".

    Rare Reprise album relesed (on July, 2017) by Warner, Japan as a parts of their low-priced series with Parlofone new remastering.

    [Jazz Masters Collection 1200 Vol.10] Low-priced reissue with SHM-CD format. Comes with a mini-description. This series features the albums with the following product numbers: WPCR-29301 through WPCR-29350.

    Things Ain't What They Used To Be [SHM-CD] [Limited Release] / Era Fitzgerald
    "[Jazz Masters Collection 1200 10th] The newly added Roulette, Rooster, Jubilee, Colpix etc. such as prestigious Atlantic, Warner Brothers label, etc., rare board of the first CD conversion is 1,200 yen, The 10th bulk of the popular series released in the SHM-CD specification! The first lady in the jazz world is a masterpiece of the early 1970s, focusing on pop popular songs that hit in the 1960s, backed by Gerald Wilson arrangement orchestra. ● With mini commentary"






    I can highly recommend this CD, judging by how it sounds - easy in the "Best" category.

    As for music, it surprising... Even old jazz numbers sounds more like R&B here.

    Listen before to buy it:

    Better tracks:

    Ella Fitzgerald-Things Ain't What They Used To Be (1970) HD

    Willow Weep For Me

    Ella Fitzgerald-Black Coffee (1970) HD


    Days of Wine and Roses - Ella Fitzgerald

    Mas Que Nada

    best of the rest:
    Don't Dream Of Anybody But Me

    Just When We're Falling In Love

    May be these 9 tracks would justify the purchase. It did for me.

    Recommended for those who want to have all Ella albums with great sound.
    frightwigwam likes this.
  25. fenderesq

    fenderesq In Brooklyn It's The Blues / Heavy Bass 7-7

    Brooklyn - NY
    Nat Cole's recording of Lush Life with Pete Rugolo is arguably the best record; of the genre ever made.
    juanmanuel likes this.

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