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Larry Kart

Carmen McRae's tribute to Vaughan

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Not the biggest McRae fan, preferring her earlier recordings and feeling that she often got rather mannered in her vintage years (although those mannerisms of timbre, attack, and dramatization, did seem built in), I hesitated over this, the then 70-year-old McRae's final album, from Oct. 1990 (she retired the following May and died in 1994). Singing tunes associated with her recently deceased friend Vaughan, there are no signs here of the asthma and emphysema that would lead to McRae's retirement, other than (probably) a choice of lower keys on some songs (though McRae's voice always was down there). She sounds plenty strong, and as for inventiveness/emotional commitment, backed by the Shirley Horn Trio (which no doubt, and as one might expect, makes a big difference), McRae is stunningly spontaneous -- even on (or perhaps especially on) such chestnuts as "Misty" and "Send in the Clowns." The 2003 Bluebird reissue adds four bonus tracks. The way that McRae, an accomplished professional pianist herself, and Horn interact is something else.

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I'm McRae fan, as I confessed elsewhere - I must admit I like her versions better than Vaughan's ... Having Shirley Horn do the backing was a grand idea.

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I'm a Carmen fan as well, and this is a great reissue.

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Rather than start I new thread I dredged up this older one dealing with McRae's music...count me as an unequivocal fan. I love the older stuff but I tend to gravitate more toward her later recordings. I agree with Larry that on an off/tired day the mannerisms could fully overtake the music, but when she was on, wow - a true original. The Sarah tribute is one of my favorites for sure. In fact I first heard McRae via the song "Sarah" from this tribute, which was included on an RCA/Novus sampler disc (included with some jazz magazine as I recall, maybe Jazziz) and flipped - and the rest is history.

Anyway main reason for posting is to put in a good word for another later period McRae CD - ANY OLD TIME (Denon). Recorded in 1986, this is just stellar. While some old chestnuts are covered, there are also a few unpredictable choices in the track listing ("Tulip or Turnip" as the opener, anyone? How many people even know or cover this little gem, let alone lead off with it?), and she's in top vocal form. The band includes Clifford Jordan, captured firmly in the middle of a purple patch (think of the work he did on Art Farmer's BLAME IT ON MY YOUTH (Contemporary), recorded around this same time, and you'll know what I mean) and the under-heralded John Collins on guitar (that's another reason I'm fond of McRae - lots of love for guitarists!). I'd put this one up with SARAH, her Monk tribute, and SINGS THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK as my absolute favorites in her catalog. Pity it's so little known - I'm a big McRae fan and I'd never even heard of it until stumbling across a listing on eBay while searching for a different recording. Well worth a listen.

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Rather than start I new thread I dredged up this older one dealing with McRae's music...count me as an unequivocal fan. I love the older stuff but I tend to gravitate more toward her later recordings. I agree with Larry that on an off/tired day the mannerisms could fully overtake the music, but when she was on, wow - a true original. The Sarah tribute is one of my favorites for sure. In fact I first heard McRae via the song "Sarah" from this tribute, which was included on an RCA/Novus sampler disc (included with some jazz magazine as I recall, maybe Jazziz) and flipped - and the rest is history.

Anyway main reason for posting is to put in a good word for another later period McRae CD - ANY OLD TIME (Denon). Recorded in 1986, this is just stellar. While some old chestnuts are covered, there are also a few unpredictable choices in the track listing ("Tulip or Turnip" as the opener, anyone? How many people even know or cover this little gem, let alone lead off with it?), and she's in top vocal form. The band includes Clifford Jordan, captured firmly in the middle of a purple patch (think of the work he did on Art Farmer's BLAME IT ON MY YOUTH (Contemporary), recorded around this same time, and you'll know what I mean) and the under-heralded John Collins on guitar (that's another reason I'm fond of McRae - lots of love for guitarists!). I'd put this one up with SARAH, her Monk tribute, and SINGS THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK as my absolute favorites in her catalog. Pity it's so little known - I'm a big McRae fan and I'd never even heard of it until stumbling across a listing on eBay while searching for a different recording. Well worth a listen.

I picked up that one, too, Dr J and like it a good deal. Scott Colley is excellent behind her, as is the whole band.

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I agree that Dedicated To You is a good one, but prefer Any Old Time on Denon. The latter is one of my very favorite recordings by Carmen.

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"Dedicated to You" is really fine and as Larry says, the presence of Horn and her group make for a little looser than usual setting.

To me, the greatest Carmen McRae recording is one that has not been issued on cd in the states.

Carmen McRae At The Great American Music Hall.

carmen-mcrae-at-the-great-american-music-hall(live)-20120214231346.jpg

Edited by marcello

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To me, the greatest Carmen McRae recording is one that has not been issued on cd in the states.

Carmen McRae At The Great American Music Hall.

Thanks for the tip, Tom, I'll look for that one!

I really discovered Carmen McRae with her Monk album, the one prior to the Vaughan tribute. Both of those are absolutely killer albums, I find them near perfect jazz singing. I like much of her earlier stuff too, but to me she reached her peak just at the end. I was eagerly awaiting the next record after "Dedicated to You" and was devastated when I heard she had retired due to her health issues.

And while it's true that at times she could be all mannerisms, isn't that also true of Sarah Vaughan? I remembering seeing Sarah sometime in the 80's and it was dreadful, she was just hamming it up tastelessly.

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Not the biggest McRae fan, preferring her earlier recordings and feeling that she often got rather mannered in her vintage years (although those mannerisms of timbre, attack, and dramatization, did seem built in), I hesitated over this, the then 70-year-old McRae's final album, from Oct. 1990 (she retired the following May and died in 1994). Singing tunes associated with her recently deceased friend Vaughan, there are no signs here of the asthma and emphysema that would lead to McRae's retirement, other than (probably) a choice of lower keys on some songs (though McRae's voice always was down there). She sounds plenty strong, and as for inventiveness/emotional commitment, backed by the Shirley Horn Trio (which no doubt, and as one might expect, makes a big difference), McRae is stunningly spontaneous -- even on (or perhaps especially on) such chestnuts as "Misty" and "Send in the Clowns." The 2003 Bluebird reissue adds four bonus tracks. The way that McRae, an accomplished professional pianist herself, and Horn interact is something else.

Wow. As they say 'that's what makes horse racing'. I couldn't disagree more, Larry. I love almost everything Carmen did, any period. She just ripened like a wine, and played great piano for herself, as did Shirley Horn. I think those 2 may have been the best self-accompanying singers I've heard---especially Shirley. My favorite Carmen is Bittersweet, Sounds of Silence (I think it's called) and Portrait of Carmen. I think the last 2 are on Atlantic. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most on Bittersweet is my favorite version of a favorite song. She sings another Tommy Wolfe song, I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco, on one of the Atlantics, I forget which.

The reason I love Carmen so much, besides her phenomenal musicianship, is an attitude she projects, or at least that I get, of not self-pity, but sort of 'screw the world or what anyone thinks. I'm telling you how I feel about this.' And there's a sardonic (if that's the right word) laughing-at-life and the stupidity of many people. She sounds like a really gifted survivor, who wants to 'talk' to whoever has ears to listen. Maybe this is in my head. She also can be unbelievably tender. Anyway, the combination of her attitude and amazing skills as a musician make her one of my all-time favorites.

I wanted to mention IMO a great singer I've been in contact with, Shawnn Monteiro. She reminds me of (later) Carmen but definitely has her own great style and sound also. I think she's one of the best in the world today FWIW. I bring her up b/c last we spoke she was recording a Carmen McCrae tribute---speaking of tributes. It's probably in the can by now. So Sarah got one and now Carmen has one. Good news to me.

Edited by fasstrack

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Here, I agree with you Joel.

By the way, "I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco" is also on the Great American Music Hall recording I mentioned above.

My link to the song

You should here that one.

Edited by marcello

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Not the biggest McRae fan, preferring her earlier recordings and feeling that she often got rather mannered in her vintage years (although those mannerisms of timbre, attack, and dramatization, did seem built in), I hesitated over this, the then 70-year-old McRae's final album, from Oct. 1990 (she retired the following May and died in 1994). Singing tunes associated with her recently deceased friend Vaughan, there are no signs here of the asthma and emphysema that would lead to McRae's retirement, other than (probably) a choice of lower keys on some songs (though McRae's voice always was down there). She sounds plenty strong, and as for inventiveness/emotional commitment, backed by the Shirley Horn Trio (which no doubt, and as one might expect, makes a big difference), McRae is stunningly spontaneous -- even on (or perhaps especially on) such chestnuts as "Misty" and "Send in the Clowns." The 2003 Bluebird reissue adds four bonus tracks. The way that McRae, an accomplished professional pianist herself, and Horn interact is something else.

Wow. As they say 'that's what makes horse racing'. I couldn't disagree more, Larry. I love almost everything Carmen did, any period. She just ripened like a wine, and played great piano for herself, as did Shirley Horn. I think those 2 may have been the best self-accompanying singers I've heard---especially Shirley. My favorite Carmen is Bittersweet, Sounds of Silence (I think it's called) and Portrait of Carmen. I think the last 2 are on Atlantic. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most on Bittersweet is my favorite version of a favorite song. She sings another Tommy Wolfe song, I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco, on one of the Atlantics, I forget which.

The reason I love Carmen so much, besides her phenomenal musicianship, is an attitude she projects, or at least that I get, of not self-pity, but sort of 'screw the world or what anyone thinks. I'm telling you how I feel about this.' And there's a sardonic (if that's the right word) laughing-at-life and the stupidity of many people. She sounds like a really gifted survivor, who wants to 'talk' to whoever has ears to listen. Maybe this is in my head. She also can be unbelievably tender. Anyway, the combination of her attitude and amazing skills as a musician make her one of my all-time favorites.

I wanted to mention IMO a great singer I've been in contact with, Shawnn Monteiro. She reminds me of (later) Carmen but definitely has her own great style and sound also. I think she's one of the best in the world today FWIW. I bring her up b/c last we spoke she was recording a Carmen McCrae tribute---speaking of tributes. It's probably in the can by now. So Sarah got one and now Carmen has one. Good news to me.

Any relation to accordionist Eddie Monteiro?

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Speaking of the Great American Music Hall, the Carmen and Betty Carter album recorded there is a joy--they're having such a good time together. And I don't always have a long fuse for Betty Carter.

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Shawnn Monteiro is actually the daughter of bassist Jimmy Woode.

Tom, Carmen's Live at the Great American Music Hall is one of my all-time favorites and I still listen to my scratched-to-the-max LPs. You don't need to have a video to feel how much fun Carmen and Diz have on this recording and that always makes me smile, too.

I love the Denon recording and think the musicianship all around is outstanding, especially Clifford Jordan and John Collins!

Marla

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Hey Marla, didn't know you were here. Good to see your name pop up.

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I'm with Larry - give me the Deccas; and I hear McCrae was very mean to side men.

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So what about about this one?

Guilty pleasure for anyone :)

I love the EW&F song Can't Hide Love. And I love Carmen's version in particular.

32901.jpg

Edited by freelancer

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Not the biggest McRae fan, preferring her earlier recordings and feeling that she often got rather mannered in her vintage years (although those mannerisms of timbre, attack, and dramatization, did seem built in), I hesitated over this, the then 70-year-old McRae's final album, from Oct. 1990 (she retired the following May and died in 1994). Singing tunes associated with her recently deceased friend Vaughan, there are no signs here of the asthma and emphysema that would lead to McRae's retirement, other than (probably) a choice of lower keys on some songs (though McRae's voice always was down there). She sounds plenty strong, and as for inventiveness/emotional commitment, backed by the Shirley Horn Trio (which no doubt, and as one might expect, makes a big difference), McRae is stunningly spontaneous -- even on (or perhaps especially on) such chestnuts as "Misty" and "Send in the Clowns." The 2003 Bluebird reissue adds four bonus tracks. The way that McRae, an accomplished professional pianist herself, and Horn interact is something else.

Wow. As they say 'that's what makes horse racing'. I couldn't disagree more, Larry. I love almost everything Carmen did, any period. She just ripened like a wine, and played great piano for herself, as did Shirley Horn. I think those 2 may have been the best self-accompanying singers I've heard---especially Shirley. My favorite Carmen is Bittersweet, Sounds of Silence (I think it's called) and Portrait of Carmen. I think the last 2 are on Atlantic. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most on Bittersweet is my favorite version of a favorite song. She sings another Tommy Wolfe song, I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco, on one of the Atlantics, I forget which.

The reason I love Carmen so much, besides her phenomenal musicianship, is an attitude she projects, or at least that I get, of not self-pity, but sort of 'screw the world or what anyone thinks. I'm telling you how I feel about this.' And there's a sardonic (if that's the right word) laughing-at-life and the stupidity of many people. She sounds like a really gifted survivor, who wants to 'talk' to whoever has ears to listen. Maybe this is in my head. She also can be unbelievably tender. Anyway, the combination of her attitude and amazing skills as a musician make her one of my all-time favorites.

I wanted to mention IMO a great singer I've been in contact with, Shawnn Monteiro. She reminds me of (later) Carmen but definitely has her own great style and sound also. I think she's one of the best in the world today FWIW. I bring her up b/c last we spoke she was recording a Carmen McCrae tribute---speaking of tributes. It's probably in the can by now. So Sarah got one and now Carmen has one. Good news to me.

Any relation to accordionist Eddie Monteiro?

No. She's Jimmy Woode's daughter actually.

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Shawnn Monteiro is actually the daughter of bassist Jimmy Woode.

Tom, Carmen's Live at the Great American Music Hall is one of my all-time favorites and I still listen to my scratched-to-the-max L!Ps. You don't need to have a video to feel how much fun Carmen and Diz have on this recording and that always makes me smile, too.

I love the Denon recording and think the musicianship all around is outstanding, especially Clifford Jordan and John Collins!

Marla

Is that the Nat Cole tribute where she sings Errand Girl for Rhythm and I Want the (whatever that funny food is)with....on the Side? Love that recording! And bless you for mentioning the great and nearly forgotten John Collins---one of the great men that set the standard for my instrument.

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So what about about this one?

Guilty pleasure for anyone :)

I love the EW&F song Can't Hide Love. And I love Carmen's version in particular.

32901.jpg

Guilty here, yes. Pleasure...maybe. Thad Jones did a few of the arrangements, so I got curious. It don't suck.

The title cut, btw? Arranged by Gerald Wilson.

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Frim Fram Sauce! That's what she wants. Me too..

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