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161. Art of Tea
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162. Here's to Life
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163. Individuality (Can I Be Me?)
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164. Soul on Fire: The Best of LaVern
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165. After Midnight Sessions
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166. Gling-Glo
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167. Come by Me
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168. Pure Ella
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169. Dreamsville
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170. In Blue
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171. Best of Smooth Jazz
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172. Reprise Collection
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173. Celebrating 30 Years at Cafe Carlyle
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174. Swing
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175. The Very Best of Miki Howard
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176. Bossa Nova
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177. Golden Hits
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178. Verve Jazz Masters 51
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179. You Won't Forget Me
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180. Songs for Young Lovers/Swing Easy

161. Art of Tea
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B000002KCF
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8712
Average Customer Review: 4.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS IS AN AMAZING MUSIC!!!
I was introduced to Michael Franks over ten years ago. Art of Tea along Sleeping Gypsy are my favorite two CD's. Art of Tea is subtle, lyrical, playful, and sexy, which I don't hear a lot of in today's overproduced and overaggresive pop music scene. My favorite tracks are "Nightmoves," "Eggplant" and of course "Popsicle Toes." If want to introduced someone to Michael Franks, I would suggest this CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Michael Franks- The Art of Tea (1975, Warner)
Michael Franks' first album "The Art of Tea" is really entertaining and very good for start of his career. "Jive", "Monkey See Monkey Do", "Popscicle Toes" & "Eggplant" are the most memorable songs I've ever heard in jazz music and music history. I really adore this album. Joe Sample had something to do with the music from this album. Michael Franks has only gotten better after this album. Michael Franks is the best jazz vocalist aside from Al Jarreau. I have the rare LP. The Art of Tea is an Art of Relish.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flawless, and still fresh!
I first heard this album at the restaurant where I work. The owner was playing the CD over our PA system. I was impressed but apprehensive to say that I liked it. To me it sounded like a young guy doing a 70's retro album today because the way this album is recorded sounds so fresh. When I learned the background of this album, I let myself fall in love with it. It's an amazing album with amazing lyrics and even better music. It's a great listen from start to finish and should be in every album collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flawless Pop Album
There are only a handful of albums I always listen to straight through. To me, that's the mark of a great album. The Art of Tea falls into this category. Every song is well-crafted and superbly played. This is definitely his best album (I would also highly recommend Sleeping Gypsy). Michael Franks is not for everyone, though. His music is thoughtful and sensitive, so if you like loud, edgy music, avoid this artist. Fans of Steely Dan, Sting, Pat Metheny, and bossa nova will probably enjoy Michael Franks.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is why studios are necessary
Occasionally a recording comes along that makes you realize why the recording studio was invented. If you like Steely Dan, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Billie Holiday, Art of Tea is your next blissful pursuit. ... Read more

162. Here's to Life
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Asin: B0000046KM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6071
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly marvelous, a masterpiece-- BUY IT!
Would that I could give Shirley Horn's combo-and-strings set 200 stars-- it's just that wonderful. Shirley plays to her usual high standards, and the orchestra just adds more gentle thrills. Johnny Mandel has carved a niche for himself as a sensitive, careful arranger for jazz singer/pianists, and this recording with Shirley Horn highlights his gifts: orchestrations that stay respectfully out of the vocalist's way (his pastel shadings mesh with Shirley's Impressionist chordings as perfectly as a Monet landscape), but maintain the same still intensity projected by the soloist. Shirley's voice projects a unique blend of wistful hope and world-weariness, but in the climax of the title song, her voice rings over the orchestra with spine-tingling power. Another highlight was the moving "You're Nearer", simply Shirley singing and playing without accompaniment; this performance can be analyzed for hours vis-à-vis its seamless union of piano and voice and silence-- or enjoyed as arguably one of the most perfect vocal ballads of our time, rivaling Shirley's "The Music that Makes Me Dance" on "You Won't Forget Me". A stunning CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better Each Time I Hear It
I bought this CD after hearing "A Time For Love" on another one. I still cannot believe that it is as good from first song to last as it is. I am a lover of ballad style, and this is my all time favorite. I gave my copy away this week to a very good friend, and tonight, I am ordering a replacement. This is music to be recommended and shared, because, there isn't much like it out there. It just gets better every time I listen to it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Quiet, Reverential Reflection on Life
I first bought this when it came out, 12 years ago, and was basically neutral about it. What a mistake. What can I say: I was a callow lad back then, a mere 40-years-old, coming out of a midlife crisis or something.

This album is truly special. From "Here's to Life" to "Estate", the whole album captures the mood of a late Indian summer day, with full autumn foliage and early evening sun, reflecting off of a pond while two lovers float by in a rowboat. Whatever your image is of quiet perfection, and in the moment life celebration, that's what this album is all about.

A big reason for that is Johnny Mandel, that great songwriter-arranger-producer. This album is as much his as it is Ms. Horn's, and the balance between the orchestra, Mr. horn's voice and Ms. Horn's piano is just perfect throughout.

But give Ms. Horn her due, and then some. She sings this whole album in a whisper. Normally, when singers do that, it's because they've lost their pipes to some extent. Not here. Ms. Horn sings these songs that way because the songs' musicality demands that type of performance. Listen to her breath control on "A Time for Love", for example, and you'll immediately realize she's far from being some "has-been" who is slumming through.

I remember years ago Don van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart) explaining to a critic, who didn't get his latest effort, just to put the album on his record player and vacuum his living room, over and over again, until he got it. In a way, that's what I'd recommend you do to this one, too (with your c.d. player!). Once you realize that this isn't "101 Strings", you will be swept away by its quiet beauty. Very highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing ballads
I have had this CD for nearly 3 years now, and in all that time, I have yet to find another album anything like this. Rarely have I gone more than a few days without pulling this out and playing it again.

Shirley's hypnotically slow phrasing pulls every ounce of meaning from each word. Johnny Mandel's orchestral accomaniment is generally understated, with the occassional gentle swell to send the chills down your spine. And Wynton Marsalis' trumpet solos on "Quietly There" and "A Time for Love" add the perfect touch.

The perfect album for a rainy afternoon, a warm summer evening, or pondering the mysteries of life in the wee small hours of the morning. Buy it. I promise you won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Here's to Life ... Here's to Excellence!
I cannot think of a finer album -- one that more effectively marries impeccable jazz vocals and musicians with just the right string arrangements. Ms. Horn's intonation and ability to convey such depth and knowing (while still remaining quite understated, yet right on the money)is a true marvel. Hats off to Shirley, her boys and Mr. Mandel. One of the most romantic and gleefully redeeming recordings I've ever heard. (I especially enjoy her interpretation of Gershwin's "Isn't it a Pity.") Pure satisfaction. Worth a million listens. ... Read more

163. Individuality (Can I Be Me?)
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Asin: B00004W55E
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22533
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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The voice! On Individuality Rachelle Ferrell'sastonishing instrument (as it certainly deserves to be called) soarsand swoops through a six-octave range, which makes her a rarity in themodern R&B of nubile sopranos. Ferrell is as comfortable delivering adeep, velvety growl as a soprano soar. Her work as a jazzsinger-songwriter has clearly sharpened her vocal technique and added aperceptive subtlety to the arrangements that accompany it, which dwellin sweet 'n' lowdown, unplugged bass territory. Individuality isa compact, intensely personal album. It covers topics from sisterhood("Sista") to jilted love ("I Gotta Go"), all through the eyes of amature woman. With this album's unslick production and sincerity,Ferrell continues to set herself apart from the pack, expanding theparameters of R&B to accommodate her and her voice, not vice versa.--Lizz Mendez Berry ... Read more

Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rachelle Has Done It AGAIN!!
I had to add my voice to the chorus. Rachelle has done it again! She is the epitome of excellence and her music just carries us through. I love the CD it will definitely be an early stocking stuffer for friends, family and acquaintaces during the holiday season. As I said, I love the whole CD - I listen to it every single day! I am going to have to break down and buy another copy... I have worn this one through already. It's great music for the head and the heart.

I can't wait to see and experience another Rachelle performance at Kimball's East, Emeryville, CA. She definitely turns the place out and upside down. I look forward to hearing her perform any and all of the "Individuality" pieces LIVE. She definitely takes us to another world through the language of music.

I'll see yall in the FRONT ROW 'cause this album is FIRST CLASS! Rachelle, Thank you for holding out for your own special ARTISTIC EXPRESSION. We love it and it is well worth the wait. The music and lyrics stick to the ribs and to the soul.

4-0 out of 5 stars Add this CD to your collection
I had a hard time getting into this CD at first. When I finally found some quiet time, I loved it. This is less R&B oriented than her previous CD. I think one hears the real Rachelle Ferrell on Individuality. I suggest find a quite spot to revel in her artistry and you'll be happy that you did. Songs to pay attention to: I Forgive You; I Gotta Go (Tell It, Girl!!); Why you wanna mess it all up?; Gaia- Duet with Johnathan Butler(Great Song).

5-0 out of 5 stars Why does it have to end?
I have to echo everyone else here. This is simply amazing. If these recordings don't move you, check your pulse. My favorite here is 'Reflections of my heart'. I am so there with them.
Stop, drop everything and go get this CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars There aren't enough stars to rate this album
I went to the library to get this album, and after I listened to it, I wondered why I didn't listen to it sooner. I've always liked Rachelle Ferrell, and although I haven't heard her other albums, I still think this one might outdo them because I think few people have heard an album as great as this.

I don't know if it's possible to pick any one song as being the best on here, but I'll at least point out some highlights that come to mind. Rachelle can still hit the high notes very well (see "Run To Me") as well as the low notes. Also, the first three songs will sort of make you wish this CD would never end.

Although it's obvious that Rachelle can hold her own on songs, the duets are also stellar. "Gaia" features Jonathan Butler, and although that track is damn good, "Reflections Of My Heart" with Russ Barnes beats it (I don't know who he is, but if he has an album in the works, I wish it came out yesterday). Kenny Lattimore sings background for a few tracks, while the great George Duke takes care of music here and there. That's a winning combination, wouldn't you say?

Another thing about this album is that sometimes the wordplay is more interesting than the lyrics, not that the lyrics are bad. If someone just looked at the lyrics without listening to the songs, for example, s/he might say the lyrics just seem okay, but it all depends on how Rachelle says them.

And speaking of lyrics, the songs on here cover topics that are really original, like on "Will You Remember Me?" where she says to her man: "I understand looking at other women is part of being a man." WHO'S THE TRAITOR THAT TOLD HER THAT??? ...But seriously, Rachelle should have known she had a classic when she wrote (or co-wrote) every track on this album. Pick it up today, because you'll never get tired of listening to it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Passionate funky R&B at its best
Plenty of people below have already described how wonderful Rachelle's voice is - suffice to say its full of emotion and goes from a pussy cat whisper to a gnarly growl and everything inbetween.

Further the wild cats supporting her on this album bear mentioning: Byron Miller on bass, Lenny Castro on percussion, George Duke on keyboard overdubs among others. It's full of funked out gurus who ably support the message Rachelle has to offer.

Also from an audiophile point of view, the recording is superb. Ultra low lows on Sista to shake ya booty and test your subs, to the screeches on Why You Wanna Mess It All Up. Rachelle is palpably real and all her emotions come through. A pity more producers can match this level of recording finesse.

The album is a non-stop foot tapper through and through and the musicality and engagement makes it one of my favourite albums of all time. I just wish there was more material out there. ... Read more

164. Soul on Fire: The Best of LaVern Baker
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Asin: B000002IRY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22988
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Simply put, LaVern Baker, one of the greatest vocalists in Atlantic Records' history, could sing anything, as she proved again and again during a seven-year run of chart hits that began with 1955's "Tweedle Dee" and culminated in 1963's "See See Rider." Her material, supplied by many of the era's greatest songwriters (Leiber-Stoller, Pomus-Shuman, and many others), encouraged her to draw on her gospel and big band backgrounds in exploring the emotional subtext of serious ruminations on life such as "Saved" and the powerful "Soul on Fire." The latter was her first Atlantic single, and on it she used virtually every vocal technique at her command to bring out the slow-burning sensuality of the Ahmet Ertegun-penned gem of erotic longing. Thus was notice served, and, in the glorious years that followed, Baker cut a swath wide enough that her name and label-mate Ruth Brown's were spoken in the same reverent terms, sotto voce. The 20 tracks here remain as vital today as they were indispensable to the music's evolution in her own time.--David McGee ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars My Soul Unearthed
My youngest memories of music as a kid were of LaVern Baker. My Dad played her albums at every party he threw (and he threw quite a few). I liked it then, but haven't listened to her music in well over 20 years now. I purchased this album to remember my Dad's music.

The best surprise was mine to enjoy--not only did I reconnect all of my memories, I gained a true appreciation of what a wonderful treasure LaVern Baker was. My goodness. Between LaVern Baker and Fats Domino, do you need anything else to remember those years?

There is not a single bad song on this album. Every song she sings is emminently enjoyable. But it--you won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE RTHYM AND BLUES QUEENS!!

5-0 out of 5 stars god bless you L'il Mizz Sharecropper
Are you kidding? A religious experience. Quite aside from inventing Rock&Roll, Elvis and Janis; Ms. LaVern has the cleanest heart-scoopingest, eye-winkingest voice recorded in the United States. As much as I despise Atlantic (if for no other reason... some of the material, and the pathetic recordings of several of America's great treasures) if you DON'T find yourself simultaneously laughing and crying to this CD... man, you just don't get what we could've been over the last 5 decades.

5-0 out of 5 stars First Lady of Classic R&B
If ever there was a voice whose sould was "on fire", it's LaVern Baker's! Whether the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer belts out her classic "Jim Dandy" or tweedles her famous "Tweedly Dee", Ms. Baker has a unique R&B voice that delivers any tune perfectly. -- This CD has the best of the "big hits", an essential part of anyone's Vintage Rock & Roll music collection. There are still other less known songs we hopefully will see on CD in the near future. The absolute best LaVern Baker song "Voo Doo Voo Doo" is still only available on original vinyl. This Greatest Hits CD is still a big winner in my book. I can recommend it without reservation!

5-0 out of 5 stars A R&R Legend
One of the great advantages to having become a teenager in the early 1950s is the fact that, by having lived through the birth of R&R, you can look back and give an honest, unbiased opinion as to who constituted the wheat and who made up the chaff.

Let's face it, the early days of R&R were male dominated, and when you get right down to it, only three women were able to consistently hold their own on the charts in those days with the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis, Pat Boone, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Everly Brothers. They were Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, and LaVern Baker.

Born Delores Williams on November 11, 1929 in Chicago, her first record releases came in 1951 on Columbia's Okeh subsidiary when she was billed as Bea Baker and, later that same year, as "Little Miss Sharecropper" on the National label. In 1952 she took the name LaVern Baker while performing with Todd Rhodes & His Orchestra, and her success there led to a contract with the fledgling Atlantic Records. Her first release, Soul On Fire - fittingly the title for this CD - was written by the label's legendary founder Ahmet Ertegun, and while it didn't chart in either the R&B or pop Top 40 when released in late 1953, that would change in 1955.

In January that year, with her back-up group The Gliders, she released the bouncy Tweedlee Dee which, b/w the soulful Tomorrow Night [an Elvis favorite] went to # 4 R&B and # 14 pop. And although it was outsold in the latter market by a rushed-out Georgia Gibbs cover, the buying public would not let that happen again. From there to her last big charted hit in 1966, no one dared cover her again.

Of her 21 charted R&B and pop hits, 15 are included here, with the only missing gems being Tra La La (1956), It's So Fine (1958), So High So Low and Tiny Tim from 1959, 1965's Fly Me To The Moon and, from 1966 while with Brunswick Records, the duet with Jackie Wilson, Think Twice.

LaVern, who sadly passed away at age 67 in 1997, did get to see her name enshrined in the R&R Hall of Fame in 1991, thereby correcting a five year oversight [she should have been selected with the first inductees in 1986]. In any event, this is one CD you MUST have if you want an appreciation of one of the top three most influential female artists of Rock's early days. And while you're at it, search out the fabulous LP LaVern Baker Sings Bessie Smith. ... Read more

165. After Midnight Sessions
list price: $15.98
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Asin: B00000K45T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6779
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Nat "King" Cole endured more than his share of scorn and rebuke from all manner of fans and critics. He wasn't jazzy enough to satisfy many, not white enough to please the pop cultural obsession with Anglo- and Euro-American stardom. In answer to all of this, Cole simply proceeded, crooning beautifully even after he'd walked away from the piano and become primarily a vocal sensation. This 1956 collection is famous as Cole's riposte to the critique that he wasn't jazzy. The session brings several Swing Era stars on board: violinist Stuff Smith, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, trombonist Juan Tizol, and alto saxophonist Willie Smith. The horns and violin fronted a semistandard jazz setup of guitar, drums, and percussion, along with Cole's own considerable chops on piano. As an improviser, Cole heavily influenced a generation of ivory ticklers, including Oscar Peterson and others, and here he shows himself a stellar pianist. His runs bespeak Cole's utter perfection on the keyboard. This is a crucial document. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of Piano & Vocals
One of the unfortunate consequences of Nat "King" Cole's exquisite career as a vocalist is that many fans have forgotten what an exceptional pianist he was. Moreover, Cole influenced pianists as chronologically and geographically divergent as Oscar Peterson, Brazil's Tania Maria, and Diana Krall. AFTER MIDNIGHT serves up equal doses of Cole's vocals and piano playing. From the lush beauty of "What Is There To Say" to the mid-tempo swing of "When I Grown Too Old To Dream" to the lightening quick "I Know That You Know", Cole confirms his place in both Popular Vocalist history and Jazz Piano history as well. In a recording featuring such luminaries as Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet, and the often forgotten violinist Stuff Smith, AFTER MIDNIGHT is the perfect offering for any fan of the Nat "King" Cole Trio as well as those fans who are more familiar with Cole as a vocalist. A perfect blend is found here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nat answers his critics
Often criticized for being just a pretty voice, Nat King Cole proves once and for all in this wonderful session that his jazz credentials are beyond question. The voice still sounds wonderful, but even more impressive are Nat's piano stylings and the hip, cool backup he receives. No crooning here, just superb music that swings. The definitive versions in my opinion of many of Nat's classics including the marvelous Only a Paper Moon and Sweet Lorraine. Very good sound too, although one wonders if yet another remastering along the lines of the Louis Armstrong sessions of WC Handy and Fats Waller could improve it even more.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Understated Group Tour De Force
Supposedly Nat's return to his jazz roots (after his subjecting us to "Ramblin' Rose" and "The Lazy Hazy Days of Summer"), "After Midnight" always left me unimpressed. Nat sings on all the numbers, each of which is too carefully programmed to permit meaningful, extended jazz improvisation. But upon mature retrospection and revaluation, I've had to reconsider and add this to my collection.

If you're going to feature a singer-pianist in the setting of a small combo, this is the way to do it. The vocals are not an excuse for the musicians to jam. Instead, each of the solos, including Nat's piano offerings, augments and complements the distinctive vocal interpretations. Even when in the background, the instrumental voices of Sweets Edison, Stuff Smith, Willie Smith, and Juan Tizol are so unmistakably personal that no further showcasing of their contributions is required. The rhythmic support of John Collins (gtr), Charlie Harris (bass), and Lee Young (drums--Lester's brother) is the model of efficiency and empathy. In short, this is an exemplary session--extemporaneous jazz that is as tight as an arranged, orchestrated session yet as free-flowing as a spontaneous one.

Not the least of the album's attributes is the song selection--17 altogether, 5 of which were not included on the original LP. It's a perfect mix of old and new, sentimental and sophisticated. Just listen to Nat's easy assurance on the up-tempo "I Know That You Know" followed by his equally masterful delivery of the relatively esoteric ballad "Blame It On My Youth," capped by a medium-tempo version of the timeless "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." Then ask yourself who else could pull off such a trinity of tunes so triumphantly--and he does it for 14 remaining songs! This album is a tour de force for Nat but, even more importantly, it's collaborative music-making of the highest order.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mmmmmmmm...
It's easy to forget what a brilliant improvisational pianist Cole was before he went more commercial and recorded with an orchestra. He won Esquire and Metronome awards in the years 1946-1949 for his piano. Just by itself, a return of the trio and its style would be treat enough. But when you add some of the very best sidemen in the business, this is ambrosia. Sweets Edison was Basie's star for 13 years and, after 1950, was in demand for all kinds of big names. Sinatra loved to use him. Same for Juan Tizol, who cut his eye teeth on Ellington and Harry James before his valve trombone was in demand for Sinatra and others in the Capitol stable. Willie Smith - who developed the slurping saxophone sound with Ellington, I think, later ended up doing some great alto work for Billy May alongside Skeets Herfurt. Stuff Smith on violin was new to me - kind of a cross between Stephane Grapelli and Florian Zabach. Cole's voice is as mellow as ever, but it is so smoothly laid in this instrumental bed that it blends like another instrument - except, of course, when it soars. The ballads have some sophistication and the rest just plain swings. I could listen to this CD over and over and over again. Watch your purchase - there is a 12 track Japanese import out there - which is actually the way the LP came out in 1957. The CD listed here has six bonus tracks that were recorded in the same sessions and are every bit as good as the original dozen. ....You'll wear it out appreciating new nuances each time you listen to it. And that will be often! Oh, P.S. Check out Jack Costanzo's wild bongos on "Caravan."

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Jazz!
An excellent album for those who want to hear Nat King Cole the musician, versus the vocalist. However those who prefer the vocalist will not be disappointed as Mr. Cole sings on all tracks. This album basically reunites the Nat King Cole trio during the height of his vocal career. Also added is a guest instrumentalist on each song. Mr. Cole re-records his greatest trio hits, Route 66, Sweet Lorraine, Paper Moon, etc. However don't overlook the album because of this. There are many wonderful gems on this album including Blame It On My Youth, Just You, Just Me, Caravan, and Sometimes I'm Happy. This is one of Mr. Cole's best albums and I promise the sound will never grow old! ... Read more

166. Gling-Glo
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0000AYL44
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6886
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
The first album I bought from Björk that I bought was "Post," and I have to say I loved it. Next, I saw the movie "Dancer In The Dark." I loved her quirky take on musicals! I think that "Gling-Gló" was a great next step in my Björk collection. I bought "Vespertine" at the same time, but listened to "Gling-Gló" first and loved it! It's simple music: piano, bass, percussion, and that's about it. Thought it sounds plain, her voice spices it up and makes it her own! Each song, though I have NO idea what she's saying, is enjoyable to me. There are two English songs at the end, thank goodness! =) I would reccomend this for any Björk fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars i gave 5, but amazon made me give 3
as far as the rating i gave, it shoulda been 5 yo! thats it.

3-0 out of 5 stars :) :D :P :O ;) v :l
ahhhhhhhhhh.... 'bout all that needs to be said about gling-glo. happy little guants on the keys to tickle the earbone. whisping melodys nicely kept in tact with smooth walking bass. lay down some of the sweet sweet brush work jazz man. the piano tickles, the bass flows, the drums bob the head without restraint, the vocals....well, it's bjork. what every little boy dreams of how their mom should whisp them to dreamland every night the thunder scares them out of slumber. grins and giggles abound from play to stop. if you cant enjoy this, then you are not nice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bjork works her magic into the jazz scene perfectly
Whether or not you're a Bjork fan, this is a most interesting album to look into. Out of all of Bjork's published recordings, this has by far been the most well received in her native country of Iceland, and for good reason; though lacking the electronic and avant garde twists that her solo career has come to embody, Gling Glo represents Bjork's role in the Icelandic music scene, her uniqueness and power as a singer, and her ability to slide flawlessly from genre to genre. On the album, Bjork and Trio record Icelandic versions of classic and not-so-classic jazz standards, as well as jazzed up versions of traditional Icelandic songs. For Bjork fans, this cd will only be slightly surprising, as the familiar wails and yelps are just as present as they have always been...including the scat-like gibberish always at hand in her more recent solo work. Most importantly, the music is great, featuring impressive piano, percussion, and bass playing. ... Read more

167. Come by Me
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Asin: B00000J7SC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6580
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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People first smitten with Harry Connick Jr. due to his easy, timeless charm and swoon-worthy croon on the 1989 soundtrack When Harry Met Sally are in for a big treat. Come by Me, a delightful sequence of treasures both old and new, is Connick's first big-band record since 1991's Blue Light, Red Light. What's not to like?With equal precision and confidence, Connick and his 16-piece band (and at times a full symphony orchestra) move seamlessly between the boisterous self-penned title cut, the Mancini standard "Charade," and the Cole Porter gem "Love for Sale." He gives a straight and moving voice and piano take on "Danny Boy," a stepped-up freshness to "There's No Business Like Show Business," and "Cry Me a River," following his unique vision, becomes an emotionally broken Bourbon Street funereal march. Strings swell, horns wail and skronk, high hats tap time, and those magic fingers dance across the keys. All told, Come by Me is a welcome invitation. --Paige La Grone ... Read more

Reviews (102)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Boardroom Was Looking Empty..Thanks Harry
Popular music is littered with fads and reworks and technical wizzardry that hides the true brillance and melody of great music.The great male voice delivering a great lyric with the timeless*umph and zing* of a big band or orchestra has been sadly missing throughout the 90s..until NOW!!! ..prepare to be entertained with *Come By Me*.

What is there not to like on here?This is a reunion recording between Harry and the Band,not since his ,I think the 1981 release ,has he sounded this way.I liked Harry on the *She* CD of some years ago,that cajun New Orleans sound with the delta funk..and I must say that I am impressed with his *big band* one does it quite like our Harry!!!

The song selection is first class and the delivery exquiste,with Harry Connick originals spread evenly with the songs of Irving Berlin,Cole Porter,Sammy Cahn,Arthur Hamilton,and the incomparable Mercer and Mancini.Each gets the Harry Connick *touch* which hasnt been delivered for too long a time for my liking.I would recommend that you savour the timeless and magical renditions of *Charade* and *Love For Sale*and *Easy To Love*,sounds written in the golden era of songwriting and lovingly reproduced here.

The cheekiness of Connick can be seen in his renditions of *A Moment With Me* and *Come By Me*,and that delevoping style that has set Harry apart over the years, is evident throughout this recording.If you like your lyrics with romance,cleverness and feeling ,you will love this set.

The Band and orchestra sound marvellous,they individually shine on some tracks and then are brilliant together on others.The sound of the band in full swing is a delight that is sadly missed in modern music.Harry conducts arranges and writes ,sings and croons his way through this tour de force.The CD is expertly produced and arranged and engineered,and accolades should be given to both,Tracey Freeman and Gregg Rubin,a complimentary performance.

Since the passing of Dean Martin ,Frank Sinarta and others the Boardroom has been decidedly quiet,only the aging Tony Bennett seems to fill that void....but ladies and gentlemen,welcome Harry Connick Jr back on deck and ready to swing..there is a place at the top of the table for you Harry!!!Depending on your mood,4 1/2 stars but I can live with a rating of 5 stars..It is a delight.

4-0 out of 5 stars Harry does it his way...and that's fine by me.
This is the first Harry Connick CD I've purchased, though I've been an admirer of his work since When Harry Met Sally. I would definately say that I got the most for my money. This album is a wonderful mix of standards and original works, combined with Harry's smooth, mellow voice and nimble fingers at the piano. I'm a huge fan of his more upbeat numbers. My personal favorites are Nowhere with Love (which wasn't exactly upbeat, but it did have a jazzy attitude that really appeals to me) and Come By Me. Some of his slower tunes seemed almost TOO slow at times. Perhaps a change in the order of tracks would have remedied this. I was especially disappointed with "There's No Business Like Show Business." I like this piece upbeat, fast. However, all of this failed to detract from my overall enjoyment of the album. The point is, I love it. I will absolutely be picking up some more of his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harry Connick Jr.'s Back Again!
After few not very good albums (Whisper Your Name, She and Star Turtle) here it is swingin' Harry Connick!
Harry Connick Jr. is probably the first man who brought Swing back on top. Before Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Indigo Swing... He's great!
On this album, there are only five originals (Nowhere With Love, Come by Me, Easy for You to Say, Next Door Blues [instrumental] and A Moment With Me. Big Band is backing him and arrangements are great!

2-0 out of 5 stars Cheesy
It's so sad when artists as talented as Connick take the cheesy, poppy (and yes, lucrative) route. I used to love this guy's piano playing and singing, but he has just gone and made such a cornball of himself that the only people that could like him are ones that consider what he does "jazz." Folks, this ain't jazz. Coltrane, Miles, Monk, Mingus---that's jazz!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of his most mature efforts, jazzwise...
These arrangements by Harry Connick are ring in 1950's Nelson Riddle or Billy May tradition. Frank Sinatra would be peroud that there is someone carrying on the ratpack tradition. This cd swings, I mean like mad!!! Connick's vocals are smooth and smokey and he sounds like he's just come out of 1945 after WWII. A great cd by a real swinger!!! And harry has not sung thsi many standards sicne the Harry Met Sally soundtrack! Great!!! in fact the Greatest, huh Phillip? Yeah!!! ... Read more

168. Pure Ella
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our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000003N3Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3891
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars OF GREAT INTEREST
The first 8 numbers were actually ELLA 's first LP.At the time for those old enough to remember LP's were shorter,it's going to change in 1955.That album was actually a prelude to ELLA's massive GERSHWIN songbook of 1959.You always can tell if a singer is good if he is only back up by a pianist,such is the case here and ELLA was indeed a wonderful singer capable of putting her voice againt all sorts of arrangments.The other songs were in a 1954 lp and what a great choice of material that was:2 early SAMMY CAHN songs;superb versions of STARDUST and MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY who are alone worth the price of this cd of great interest to all ELLA FITZGERALD fans.From now on, NORMAN GRANZ will take the singer's interests ,even if a contract was never signed between them, which proves how one respected the other.If you should buy only one ELLA not in the songbook collection,this is the one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like an Intimate Evening with First Lady of Song
The year is 1950 or 1954. Imagine that you're inviting an emerging star to sing for you at a dinner party. The singer is the inimitable Ella Fitzgerald. The result might have been this -- "Pure Ella", just her and pianist Ellis Larkins with his trademark feather touch. In a few years from then, Ella re-did most of these tunes for her "Songbook" series, when her voice was -- and that's remarkable -- clearer, sounding like a young girl's, when she was already in her early 40's. Anyway, what we have HERE is Ms. Fitzgerald in a relaxed, soothing mode with no frills. Her pure and ripe voice will stroke and caress you and you'll be glad you can listen to this CD... The highlights include "But Not For Me", "I've Got a Crush On You", "I'm Glad There Is You" and "Until the Real Thing Comes Along", as for Larkins' artistry, suffices one listen to "How Long Has This Been Going On?"

5-0 out of 5 stars The swinging angel sings
This truly is PURE ELLA, no strings or brass, just her voice and the piano.
The perfect recording for a dinner party or an evening sitting by the fire.
This selection of rarified show tunes, many by the Gershwins, are given the royal treatment by Ella and her sublime and swinging pianist, Ellis Larkins.
You can't go wrong with this CD.

4-0 out of 5 stars Be Careful What Ella Fitzgerald You Order
Be careful that you are ordering the right Ella Fitzgeral CD. There is another outstanding Ella Fitzgerald CD by almost the same name that is very different. It is called "Pure Ella: The Very Best of Ella Fitzgerald," and it is the best Elle Fitzgerald ever made.

So don't accidentally order this CD thinking you are getting the other one.

This very enjoyable CD shows a nice side of Ella with the Piano and Gershwin songs, and would make a nice addition to your collection. But it would not be one of my first three choices by Ella Fitzgerald. My first choice would be the other one: "Pure Ella: The Very Best of Ella Fitzgerald," released in 1998.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pure Ella, indeed!
This collection of songs is really 2 CDs in one. The first eight songs are a reissue of the classic "Ella Sings Gershwin" album from 1950. Although she was 33 at the time she recorded these, her voice hadn't quite hit its peak. Still, she sounds amazing, and she and pianist Ellis Larkins really swing on "My One and Only." Most of the songs, though, are ballads, with "But Not for Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" receiving excellent treatments. The rest of the CD comprises the 1954 album "Songs in a Mellow Mood." Her voice had matured by this time, and she's clearly more comfortable with the material; she really stretches out on these songs. "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" is particularly nice. This is a highly recommended CD. ... Read more

169. Dreamsville
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Asin: B00004ZAYM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 25126
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Strictly in terms of recognizable standards, Stacey Kent's 2001 album, Dreamsville, might be hard-pressed to measure up to her 2000 NPR smash Let Yourself Go, a snappy, swinging tribute to the great dancer-singer-actor Fred Astaire, but it's still a sterling example of the girlish charm of London's top jazz vocalist. This collection of ballads ranges from the Gershwins ("I've Got a Crush on You," the underrated "Isn't It a Pity") to Henry Mancini (the dreamy title tune) all the way to Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman ("Hushabye Mountain" from the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). That it works seamlessly is a tribute to the singer's relaxed way with a lyric, excellent support and solos from a band featuring reedman Jim Tomlinson (Kent's husband), guitarist Colin Oxley, and pianist David Newton, and solid arrangements by Kent and Tomlinson. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
It took me a while to get turned on to Stacey Kent, because she doesn't get nearly the hype that Diana Krall and now Jane Monheit get (Krall deserves it, Monheit needs to grow as a singer before she will). But having heard Dreamsville, I'm excited to have found a new artist to add to my playlist. First, there is that voice: sweet yet breathy and seductive. Add to that the fact that she knows how to truly sing, not just exhibit her vocal skills (something Monheit desperately needs to learn). Kent makes each song her own, yet does it in such a way that the song retains its identity. There's not a weak link on this CD, but for me, "Hushabye Mountain" stands out as a showcase of Kent's ability to breathe emotion into a song. Be warned, however: if you're one of those people who think Krall's "The Look of Love" is "boring" because "all the songs sound the same" (i.e. because there's no "Hit That Jive Jack") then this album may be a bit above your musical appreciation skills.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Angel on Earth
I had the luxury of seeing and meeting Stacey Kent Live here in Washington, D.C. late last year, and she was breathless. The show was as captivating as is the CD, which I was able to get a early copy of. Stacey is not afraid to revel and express her love of ballads, and her sultry vibrato that she adds in her phrasing give me chills. Her natural approach to her song seem effortless and simple. She does not force the songs to "swing" by complicated changes but hold a simple elegance letting her voice carry the tune. Stacey is acompanied by Jim Tomlinson which matches her voice with some haunting wistful solos, such as in Violets For Your Furs. I can't recommend this enough, but if your not interested I will happy to keep this angel for my own.

4-0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars
ALBERT, not Alfred, Marx [Discovery Records]

Please fix. Thanks

5-0 out of 5 stars I love Stacey
What can I say, I love Stacey Kent. There is something about her voice, the way the wraps around a song just makes you feel good. The song " You are there" is worth the price of this CD alone. Buy this CD. You wont be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I just received my first Stacy Kent CD, "Dreamsville."
Needless to say, it won't be my last!
Her voice is incredible! ... Read more

170. In Blue
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Asin: B000069JZ8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8422
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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There's nothing like the sound of a singer coming into her own. Following up her first-rate, song-by-song traversal of John Coltrane's Ballads, on which she closely followed the original arrangements, Karrin Allyson here cuts consistently fresh paths through a choice set of blues and blues-inspired tunes. There is never a moment when she takes a tune for granted--or allows us to. Breathing a sultry intimacy into Bobby Timmons' jazz classic, "Moanin,'" she maximizes Jon Hendricks's lyrics with her rolling-and-tumbling phrasing. Toughening her voice, she could almost be mistaken for Bonnie Raitt on "Love Me Like a Man," one of the blues-rock queen's signature songs. Backed by her fine regular guitarist Danny Embrey and the superb rhythm section of Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash, she also brings distinction to offbeat selections such as Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Hum Drum Blues," Blossom Dearie's "Bye Bye Country Boy," and Joni Mitchell's "Blue Motel Room." That she knows "The Meaning of the Blues" (she covers that Bobby Troup standard, too) is no surprise. She is, after all, from Kansas City. But the variety of shades she exposes here is worth shouting about. --Lloyd Sachs ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Karrin's got the blues (and, boy, am I happy about it)
After releasing an astounding tribute album to Coltrane, I found it hard to imagine that Karrin Allyson would be able to record anything that was even half as good. Well, I was wrong, 'In Blue' is that kind of album that touches you and makes you want to play it time and again. The reviewer who found this album to be lacking emotion needs to give it another try. Just one listen to her version of "The Meaning of the Blues" and you're hooked. Other highlights include "Moanin'," "Evil Gal Blues," and "Angel Eyes."

This album is the ideal introductory recommendation to what good jazz and blues female vocalists are about. Even more so, it is perfect for anyone who is a jazz fan and not familiar with Karrin's music. It is beautiful, melodic, fits every mood (perfect for a day when you're serioulsy hit by "the blues"), and it is flawlessly produced. Karrin's sincere, never-over-the-top, sultry, and emotional delivery is an example of what real music is about. File this one under "nearly perfect."

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Album to Add to Your Collection
This album was featured at Borders one day. I was not familiar with Karrin and so I decided to put the headphones on. I was floored. This is such a wonderful album. Its very creative and moving music. I love the way Karrin delivers each song.

Rachelle Farrell once said, it is a writer's job to take emotion and translate that to words. It is a singer's job to take those words and translate them back into emotion. Karrin Allyson accomplishes this feat with the highest of standards.

This is a slow to medium tempo album and yet ... its very exciting music. She delivers each tune with such moving, understated authority and her scatting work is magical. This is a blues tinged jazz album. Or is it a jazz tinged blues album?

I also love the way she gives her band lots of space to play. Mulgrew Miller does a nice job on piano. Danny Embrey on guitar plays creatively and with a unique sound on guitar. Pete Washington on bass is great.

The most underrated drummer (in my opinion) Lewis Nash is FANTASTIC. While listening to this CD I kept getting drawn to the drummer. His cymbal work is so interesting and he also does some hand drumming which is perfect for the tune "Long As Your Living". I can't say enough about the colors that his drumming adds. He is an exciting drummer that should be payed close attention to on this recording.

Speaking of recording .... the quality of the sound is first rate. My hat is off to Josiah Gluck for capturing such a gorgeous sound for Karrin and the band.

The bottom line is: this is one of the best vocal jazz albums I have heard in a long, long time .... one of the best ever in fact....just buy'll hear what I mean.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too Blue
Karrin Allyson croaks and strains her way through this moody CD. Jazz is the last home for singers who cannot sing and in this respect Miss Allyson has found her place in the world. This is better than her Ballads CD but only because the material is of higher quality. The CD is a good listen for rainy nights when the lights are low. It grows on you and by the third or fourth time 'round it can be very pleasent. But if you are expecting some soaring, jazzy lightning bolt, this just isn't it.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME - no other word to describe this one!
Thank You, Amazon for your "If you like X, you might also like Y" feature.

I found Karrin Allyson that way via a Jane Monheit search, and what can I say? Karrin baby, you got it going on!!!

She's got "The Voice" down pat, she sings to YOU, and you ALONE. I get chills just listening to her sing "The Meaning of the Blues" and "Blue Hotel Room".

This one is a "no-brainer", it's good stuff from start to finish. Really glad I found her, and I think you will be too!

1-0 out of 5 stars A Tough Sell
John Coltrane's Ballad Album was much more of a sell for Allyson. On this latest release In Blue, Allyson's most convincing track is Moanin'. Her approach to this album was tentative, timid and without Blue. I think a different thematic album would have been more suitable for Allyson. ... Read more

171. Best of Smooth Jazz
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Asin: B000002NHZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7856
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Keeper
This is a MUST HAVE for any smooth jazz collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 1
This is one of those rare CDs that let you appreciate the present moment. Get your closest friends; fire up the grill; put on The Best of Smooth Jazz - forget about yesterday; don't think about tomorrow; appreciate you and yours for the moment. Can't get no better!

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Driving Music
the albums of the "Best of Smooth Jazz" series are arguably some of the greatest smooth jazz compilations to date. I credit this particular series of albums with opening my eyes to the sheer beauty that encompasses smooth jazz. This particular album is of coure the forerunner, and daresay, the best of the immaculate series. My favorite cut off the album would have to be Bob James' "Angela" (theme from "Taxi"). This classic is worth that price of admission alone as it offers so much more then just the 30 seconds it is alloted per episode of said show. Al Jarreau's "We're In This Love Together" is a tune that many will recognize as it has been a frequent staple in most pop radio stations across the country. Pure greatness! There is so much more to say, but I am sure everyone gets the point by now. If you have been an avid love of smooth jazz for years or if you are a novice to this genre (not unlike myself), throw your inhibtions to the wind, and sail away with "Best of Smooth Jazz"

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It...
I couldn't wait to get the entire set. This was a wise investment on my part.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only the best without the commercials!
This is a collection of musical pieces that are delivered on a silver platter. I bought it for Maputo and didn't pay any attention to the rest of the bill of fare. WoW! I got my money's worth! Sanborn, Franks, Benson to start.... ... Read more

172. Reprise Collection
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Asin: B000002LMU
Catlog: Music
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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The pundits claim that Ol' Blue Eyes did his best work with Columbia in the '50s, but there's more great '60s and '70s stuff here than you can shake a stick at. After all, Sinatra wouldn't start his own label only to sing schlock. This four-CD set was released to celebrate The Chairman's 75th birthday and it traces the mellowing of that tremendous voice like the aging of a fine wine. It also adds eight unreleased tracks to a staggering song list highlighted by biggies like "New York, New York," "My Way," "The Way You Look Tonight," "It Was a Very Good Year," and "The Song Is You." --Michael Ruby ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Set - But the Capitol Years Box Set Is Superior
This was the first Sinatra Box set I ever purchased. It's a great one to own. I'd say that it's the second box set you should purchase. Sinatra is only in good voice, however on the first 2 1/2 discs. Much of the material on disc 3 & 4 is from the 70's. Frank decided to enter retirement in 1971 because he felt his voice and recordings were not up to his standards from the late 50's (with Capitol) and first 10 years on his own label (Reprise) during the 60's. Cigarettes have gotten to his voice by disc 3 and changed it to a croak by disc 4. Sinatra is in his best voice on the Capitol Years, and the tunes reflect a "prime-of-life" feel. The Reprise Collection reveals and older, more reflective and egomaniacal Frank, more akin to Joe Piscopo and Phil Hartman's parodies. The smart money is on the Capitol Years. Trust me on this one...I own nearly everything Sinatra's recorded.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic set, well worth the money
Well, a few years ago I bought the single cd sampler of this set, and I realized I needed more, so I bought this wonderful boxed set from Reprise. At the time that was all the Sinatra I had. It got me addicted, and I continued to buy the larger boxed sets during the following years (The Complete Reprise, The Columbia Years, and the 21 CD British import "Capitol Years", which I highly recomend). But this was a great starting point for me, as it contains a variety of styles and arangements of his best songs. You'll hear songs from the early sixties through the late eighties, witnessing the great transformation of his voice as he aged through the years. (Don't let anyone tell you that disc four is not up to par, it contains some of his best work of his later years. There are so many highlights in this set I won't even mention them, just buy it and you won't regret it. The booklet is also very informative and contains pictures of many single and album sleeves. I highly recommend this set.

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking for "This Town"???? Help!
I'm looking for the song "This Town" that was played in the movie "Matchstick Men"....can anyone point me in the right direction? I've looked on all 3 box sets, (for Columbia and Capitol as well)...thanks for your help!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Box Set
I have both this set and the Capitol Collection, and this is a much better set for the newer Sinatra fan such as myself. This set has a lot of the newer songs such as "My Way" that I think are his best work. I have never been a Sinatra fan (Although I liked certain songs such as "Thats Life"), but as I get older, I have learned to like him much better. One thing that is very interesting about this CD, is that there is a lot of humor in in songs like "Me And My Shadow" and "Soliloquy". If you really want to discover Sinatra, as I have, it is a must in your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MASTER AT HIS PEAK!! "5 SHOOTING STARS!!

173. Celebrating 30 Years at Cafe Carlyle
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Asin: B000003D62
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 56859
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sad Short, blue Short, old Short, new Short
If you don't smile seeing and hearing Bobby Short perform, check yourself for a pulse. Just hearing him on CDs like this one are enough to get me grinning for hours. After 30 years at the Cafe Carlyle, and at least 60 in the business, he still infuses each performance, each song, each phrase with an honest joy whose infectiousness is communicable by CD. Get yourself some.

5-0 out of 5 stars HIS BEST

1-0 out of 5 stars Short falls very short on this one.
I have enjoyed Bobby Short for a couple of decades. I have seen and heard him at the Carlyle and have never been disappointed. I have always felt, and I still do, that Bobby short and Mabel Mercer were the two best interpreters of American popular songs ever. I recall hearing Mable Mercer at the Carlyle when she was quite old, and she had lost her voice. We lovers of her music refused to hear the notes she missed; we heard only the young Mabel. Unfortunately in short's celebration of 30 years at the Carlyle reflected every one of those three decades. When I bought this CD I had assumed that I was buying the old standards, made when he still had a voice. But not so. These were re-cut when his voice was all gone, and to make matters worse, instead of the simple accompaniment of bass and drums, he has a full 10 piece orchestra that only adds to the sadness of it all. I was unable to listen to the whole thing. Oh, how the mighty are fallen. I shall probably never listen to it again. Sad, sad. ... Read more

174. Swing
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Asin: B000002JD8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6251
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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All of the Manhattan Transfer's albums are laden with nostalgia, but few work as well as a time machine as Swing. This disc collects 13 classics from the swing era, from "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" to "Skyliner." All recall the past with the immediacy of a Burma Shave sign would. The Transfer felt the desire to recruit such talents as Ray Brown, Stephane Grappelli, Asleep at the Wheel, Ricky Skaggs, and Mark O'Connor this time out. The country contributions make these swing classics add interest to these covers, making this a Transfer CD that bears repeated listenings. --Charles R. Cross ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific blend of country and big band jazz.
My parents were always listening to big band music, even in the 60's, and I learned to love this style along with the many other styles of music. When I first heard Swing, not only did the memories of Saturday nights at home come back, but to hear this updated version was amazing. This is my favorite CD to pop in my car and play while driving. Thank you, Manhattan Transfer, for such a lively collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Transfer's Second Best
The Manhattan Transfer has never topped "Vocalese" from 1985; but this one is second, and worth the purchase. Kudos to the group for picking such wonderful material as "King Porter Stomp" and "A Study in Brown"--neglected swing classics. My favorites in this set are the Transfer's cover of Basie's "Topsy," and "Skyliner"--because these two best display the quartet as a jazz ensemble (plus, I've always adored "Topsy," one of the most infectuous of all original jazz compositions!) The set ends with a live rendition of "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" which is guaranteed to get your heart rate up at 6:30 a.m. (if you get up that early). All in all, a successful vocal re-creation of the swing era that doesn't resort to "Jump Jive and Wail", "Sing Sing Sing", "In the Mood", or "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". What a concept! Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Transfer
This CD is a testimony to the great style of swing. Hands down, it is the single most innovative and amazing CD of its kind in years. The Transfer has been THE standard in vocal jazz for years. This album shows their versatility and uncanny ability to bring out the nature of swing. This is a MUST for anyone that enjoys vocal Jazz! BUY IT NOW!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars swing time
One of the best swing cd`s i have heard

5-0 out of 5 stars ....definitely worth the wait!
I've been an enthusiastic fan of the Manhattan Transfer since I first heard them in 1985, and own all but one of their many recordings.

Recently, I stood in line at the fabulous Biltmore Estate for three hours to get a first come, first serve front row center seat for their outdoor show there. Their swinging, happy-go-lucky rendition of "A-Tisket-A-Tasket" from this great CD alone was worth the wait.

That cut, plus the incomparably dreamy "Clouds" with its Stephane Grappelli solo, and smoothly blended teamwork with Asleep At the Wheel on the smokin' "Choo-Choo Ch-Boogie" make this a not-to-be-passed-up CD for any lover of swing. This is simply unmatched harmonious vocals and get-your-body-moving swing. ... Read more

175. The Very Best of Miki Howard
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Asin: B00005LMXG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 16955
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars An R&B Diva!
Miki Howard has one of the most fantastic, powerful soul voices there is. This album has some of her best vocals from previous CDs (some of which are out of print).

"Come Share My Love" is a great opener. Just listen to her voice on "Imagination"--it's wonderful! Miki bears her raw soul in "You've Changed". Miki is a knock-out on the blusey "Baby Be Mine". "Ain't Nobody Like You" is an all-out, blow-out number that smolders. "Ain't Nuthin' In The World" is a real cooker. Listen to that seering anthem "Love Under New Management"'s over the top! Miki's voice just flows soulfully on that old Aretha hit "Until You Come Back To Me".

Hopefully there will be a volume 2 to this CD. After her nominated album "Three Wishes" it seemed that Miki was finally on her way, but where is she? A wise producer and/or arranger knows that this singer deserves another new project. This is a voice that should be heard!

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Mikki!!!
This woman has a very nice strong high pitched voice she had a lot of wonerful songs during the 80's she is awesome and she has some great songs on this album it reminds me of yesteryear I remember when she first came out I think that I was in the sixth grade it was share my love and I used to love that song especially the ending !!! This album features: come share my love, love under new management, aint nobody like you the remake of Aretha Franklin's til u come back to me and many other great songs I guess she inherited this great voice her mother used to sing with the fantastic gospel group called Inez Andrews and the Caravan an awesome gospel group that was out about 30 years ago but Mikki is truly talented and very beautiful so I would truly recommend this album!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable
This is a good compilation of good songs from a fine diva who deserves much too much recognition for her contribution to the art of music.The song " If u still love her" is very much appealing to me. But i seem to like her mellow "femme fatalle " voice. She seems to mature like a good old wine, much older much better.All the songs are good & can relate to anyone in a special way.Another track that got me jumping is " Till U come back to me that what I'm gonna do" a Stevie Wonder classic Oh!boy does she sing it so nicely? yes she does.

5-0 out of 5 stars CeeTee
Love it! I truly miss her and hope she comes back with some good stuff. She is really gifted and her music speaks to the pain and joy that many encounter within relationships. I love this CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great collection!
Miki Howard is definately one of the best vocalists out today.
Her music is a gentle mixture of jazz classics and modern R&B. No hip-hop here, this collection is a must have for Miki Howard fans and new listeners! ... Read more

176. Bossa Nova
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Asin: B0001XAL14
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3354
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Being the son of a renowned jazz guitarist can be daunting, but Bucky Pizzarelli's son John, a guitarist since the age of six, has been building a formidable career of his own since fronting his first trio in the early 1990s. With Bossa Nova, Pizzarelli continues to pursue thoughtfully realized thematic projects. This set mixes exceptional versions of five songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim with luscious Brazilian adaptations of standards (including Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm") and a couple of Pizzarelli originals. The small ensemble interplay is warmly recorded, and the addition of chorus vocals and string or flute quartets on some of the material adds spice and variety. --David Greenberger ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Breezy Brazillian
I just came back from hearing Mr. Pizzarelli last night at the Ramshead tavern here in Annapolis and bought the cd after the show. WOW! It is an awesome cd. The Bossa Nova hasn't had it this good since Tom Jobim was around.(it translates nicley live BTW) The great Paolo Braga on drums and the addition of Daniel Jobim make this cd super special. A must have for fans of great music fantastically played!

5-0 out of 5 stars You Don't Have Enough Stars
John Pizzarelli never fails to surprise. This album is one of his finest (Although my all time favorite is "New Standards"), whenever I see him live, his personal mix of music and mirth leave me hoping for more. His shows are always over too soon.

I've enjoyed watching John grow for many years. The combination of Ray Kennedy (Piano), Martin Pizzarelli (Bass)and John on a CD or Live is really a musical treat.... never to be missed.

"Bossa Nova" is no exception. I will display it (and play it)proudly in my "Pizzarelli" collection. You should too.

Hurry up Mr. Pizzarelli... make another album! NOW!

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb CD ... a MUST BUY for all music fans
This is one of the most pleasant and pleasing records I have ever heard. John's warm vocals are pleasant and soothing. His voice is a charm. And he's a very handsome, well dressed man!
The rest of his ensemble on this record represents the best music has to offer today. From Ray Kennedy on piaino, to Daniel Jobim on back-up vocals, to John's brother Martin on Bass. Truely spectacular!!!!
Also dont miss Martin's record, TRIPLE PLAY!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gem of the season
This is truely a spectacular album. It is the gem of the Summer Season! I not only bought one for me, but I also bought extras for my sister in England and a two friends at the office. John's voice is satisfying, sincere and enjoyable. His guitar playing is cream of the crop. I alo recommed you ceck to see when John is playing in your area, so you can see him live.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant
In the liner notes the artist gives a heartfelt tribute to "Amoroso," the Gilberto-Claus Ogerman album that inspired this present effort. Pizzarelli's offering is certainly in the same tasteful, subtle and sensitive vein, though it contributes nothing new to the genre and style. Pizzarelli's voice, if anything, is smaller and slightly pinched compared to either Gilberto's or Jobim's. Moreover, notwithstanding a couple of tracks on which the performer's scatting doubles his facile single-note lines on guitar, there's none of the playfulness of an Astrud Gilberto or the humor of an Elis Regina. Nor do I sense any of the urgency Susannah McCorkle was able to bring to the form or the gravitas, indeed pathos, Sinatra injected in the music during his remarkable meetings with Jobim. On the whole, this latter-day bossa nova program strikes me as a pleasant but largely generic, innocuous and unnecessary offering. At the same time it's a beacon of smart, good taste and highly-skilled musicianship in comparison to most other current pop releases. For fans of Pizzarelli or for listeners with limited bossa nova collections, this recording merits a close look. ... Read more

177. Golden Hits
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Asin: B0000046WS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9361
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars In A Class All By Herself!
Absolutely NOBODY had as much control, mastery and complete understanding of the first instrument like Sarah Vaughn. The passing of this monumentally gifted artist 10 years ago was truly the end of an era, and left a void that can never be filled. This is SINGING. On such standards as "Autumn in New York", "Misty" and "Whatever Lola Wants" her range of expression and emotion with a lyric is simply staggering. My mother Sharron owns this classic on vinyl and regularly blesses me with repeated plays of her favorite "Broken Hearted Melody" and then just lets me drift away into musical euphoria with the rest of the selections. There is not a wasted moment on this LP and it is especially rewarding to lovers of big band, swing and traditonal jazz as the numerous bands that accompany her provide brilliant backing on every number. No music collection is complete without someting by the divine Ms. Vaughn, and for my money, this is the best place to start! TIMELESS!

5-0 out of 5 stars Just a Start
Have you ever heard something that just seemed to make your head spin? This was my first experience with Sarah Vaughan. I know this album represents the more popular sounding side of Ms. Vaughan's vast output of work, but I can't wait to experience all of it. Today, it seems like most of our outstanding vocalists knows one dynamic - screeching loud. Even on the ballads. This sampling Sarah Vaughan demonstrates that she was an expressive interpreter of pop as well as jazz music, and the sound of these recordings is remarkably clear considering when they were recorded. Autumn in New York, Misty, and Moonlight in Vermont are my favorites. When I bought this, I hoped the collection would be as good as the ones Capitol put together of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, but it exceeded my expectations. After I go buy the two boxed sets of her recordings, I'll start on Billy Eckstine. If you want a good, well mastered collection to start your Sarah Vaughan collection, this is a good choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Divine One Indeed
Whoever it was that dubbed her "The Divine One" knew what they were doing. This preeminent jazz stylist and accomplished pianist first began wowing audiences with the Earl "Fatha" Hines band in 1942 and then later, with Billy Eckstine's orchestra [in both bands she also served as a pianist].

Her first solo hit came in 1948 on the Musicraft label when Nature Boy climbed all the way to # 9, losing out only to the Nat "King" Cole [# 1] and Frank Sinatra [# 8] versions. Follosing another hit for Musicraft that year (It's Magic - # 11], she moved to Columbia where, for the next four years, she would rack up 11 more hits, beginning with Black Coffee in 1949 [# 13], and ending with Sinner Or Saint in 1952 [# 22].

Then she switched to Mercury and in late 1954/early 1955 her rendition of Make Yourself Comfortable peaked at # 6. From there to her final charted hit in 1966 she would add another 19, three of which would cross over to the R&B charts [her only R&B charters in fact], one to the Adult Contemporary [AC] charts, and would add one more only to the AC charts [a version of Len Barry's 1-2-3 which reached # 33 AC].

This collection started out as a 12-selection vinyl LP which, for years, was just about the only compilation available of her Mercury hits. Then it appeared as a CD, again with just the 12 tracks, until finally re-released with tracks 13 to 18 added as music buyers began demanding more for their buck.

Even then, technically it never did quite fit the "Golden Hits" title since tracks 4, 9, and 11 to 14 were never actually hits for Sarah, although all are now generally associated with her more than any other artists who recorded them. The same applies to Misty which, as the flipside to Broken-Hearted Melody [# 5 R&B/# 7 pop in 1959], itself "bubbled under" at # 106 pop.

That leaves as extremely hard-to-find Mercury hits the following: Mr. Wonderful [# 13 in 1956]; Hot And Cold Running Tears [# 92 in 1956]; Fabulous Character [# 19 in 1956] and its flipside, The Other Woman [# 86]; It Happened Again [# 72 in late 1956]; Leave It To Love [# 91 in 1957]; You're My Baby [# 87 in 1960 as the B-side of Eternally]; Serenata [# 82 in 1960]; A Lover's Concerto [# 63 in 1966]; and the afore-mentioned 1-2-3.

Clearly, counting some of the B-sides to the ones just listed, there is room for a volume 2 to this great CD. How about it Mercury or whoever? A winner of Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989 [the year before she died at age 66 on April 3, 1990], deserves nothing less.

In the meantime, this remains as the best source of her pop hits from 1954 to 1966, and includes a couple of pages of new liner notes by Will Friedwald and one page of the original notes by Lou Sidran.

5-0 out of 5 stars Golden Hits Indeed!
I was first introduced to Sarah Vaughan from a compilation jazz cd from the Verve label. The song was Misty and since I haven't heard anyone sing that song any better than Vaughan. This cd contains most of her greatest hits but indeed she's song countless more. A few songs are okay but the majority are truly golden!

5-0 out of 5 stars Experience the Incomparable Talent of Sarah Vaughn
Long before Bette Midler hit the scene, Sarah Vaughn was known as "The Divine One," and for good reason. Her voice is like clarity of mind; it's the soft, gentle breeze of summer upon which all of the sweet scents of the earth are carried; it's the sound that put the stars in the sky. And I envy anyone who has not yet experienced her music, because that moment of discovery is still ahead of them-- a moment after which all of the sounds of the world will somehow be forever changed, and in a good way, because the sound of Sarah is to the ear what sugar is to the tongue. So wait no longer. Delve into "Sarah Vaughn's Golden Hits," which will provide a transporting experience for established fans and "newbies" alike.

This album contains arguably the best versions ever recorded of some of the classic songs of all time, beginning with "Misty," which opens the album. But more delicacies await, all of which make this collection a veritable feast for the senses (yes, all of them, not just the ear; this is music you can taste, smell and feel). "Autumn In New York" and "Moonlight In Vermont" will take you to another place and time, and you can call it what you will because it will be a place of your own choosing, and timeless; that is the effect of Sarah Vaughn's incredible voice. And that's just an example of the magic of this album.

Call this a "sampling of Sarah," and know that while these songs are some of her best, the exciting thing is knowing that there are plenty more where this came from, more songs issued from that same unique well of excellence, waiting to take you on even more delightfully ethereal journeys born of one of the purest sounds ever recorded.

There are some of her "pop" hits represented here, as well, such as "The Banana Boat Song," "Broken Hearted Melody" and "Smooth Operator," which are indicative of her wide range and appeal. One of the incomparable talents of our times, Sarah Vaughn may be gone, but thanks to albums like "Sarah Vaughn's Golden Hits," her music will be with us forever, and so will she. Such talent cannot and will not ever be forgotten. ... Read more

178. Verve Jazz Masters 51
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Asin: B00000471P
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14229
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Blossom Time!
This wonderful CD is very early Blossom Dearie and includes many numbers she still performs in her live act. Highlights include: a delightfully playful version of "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top", "Give Him the Ooh-La-La", "Rhode Island is Famous for You", the bright and breezy "They Say It's Spring", a fast paced "Down With Love", and well know standards like "I Won't Dance", "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Tea for Two" that are stamped with Blossom's own inimitable style.

It was great to catch her performing live in New York. It took place in a tiny club in front of an equally intimate audience. Blossom sang and played grand piano accompanied on bass, sax and percussion by two excellent musicians. She was incredible and the sound she made knocked the roof off the place. Her high-pitched vocals are pure joy.

This CD from the Verve Jazz Master series is highly recommended as either an introduction to Blossom's music or another addition to your collection if a tried and true fan. It was also terrific to get the CD booklet autographed at the show!

4-0 out of 5 stars How did I miss hearing her for 35 years?
I was snapped out of the normally numb mental mood of the commute home by "They Say it's Spring" with Blossom's slightly cartoon voice coaxing me to listen. It sounded like maybe a comic recording until noticing that she was hitting all the notes exactly as she wanted. The wistful passion in her song is the kind you wish someone was singing to you. I bought the CD and have become a real fan. This CD seems like the best place to start. It was the beginning of her career and she had terrific backup - including Ray Brown on Bass. She makes fun of guys who hit on her in the Paris clubs where she was discovered, but in this selection of songs you can hear why they did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gossamer Grit
One imagines Blossom Dearie on this late 50s album as a mere slip of a thing. But with grit. Like the oyster making the pearl. Her grit comes from two places. First is her intellect. Listen to the way she parses the lyrics of these songs. She gets them. And she loves language. Then, too, she plays piano like a master. Truly. Suave, swinging and using only so much of a seemingly limitless technical bravura as she needs to to get the song to speak. On first hearing it's easy to fade Blossom Dearie because of her fay ingenue's voice. But listen to her once more. It's the voice of a deep feeler, who's reaction to life's hurts is a blithe irony without bitterness, a deep, humorous acceptance. Oscar Wilde as Zen monk singing three shows a night at the Cafe C'est La Vie.

5-0 out of 5 stars This CD Changed My Life
I can't say enough about this CD and how it turned me on to Blossom. I had never even heard of her until a friend was playing this. Now I want to go to New York to catch her live. This CD seems like a great economical introduction to what is truly a beautiful world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Verve Jazz Masters 51 Blossom Deare
One of the most under rated Singer's Musician's that there is around today. She swings she sings she move's along the key board
with such ease on the up tempo numbers and you can hear every word. Buy it youll love it.Also try Blossom Deare Sings Comden and Green. ... Read more

179. You Won't Forget Me
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Asin: B0000047BK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 20844
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

Shirley Horn made her recording debut in the early 1960s then returned home to Washington, D.C., to raise a family. She came back to the studio in the late '70s and early '80s, but it wasn't until this 1991 recording--her third Verve release--that she finally received the recognition she was due. You Won't Forget Me features Horn's trio of bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams, plus guest soloists Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Toots Thielemans, and fellow D.C. legend Buck Hill. The album projects a warm musical vision that elevates lyrical storytelling over fancy scatting. Here, maturity enhances rather than diminishes romantic longing. --Rick Mitchell ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars extra special
Shirley Horn always makes great recordings. All her records are good. But on this, we owe her extra gratitude for recording the title track, a delicate setting expressing a longing mood of a final farewell at a time when Miles at near his end. Miles delivers a solo of breathtaking pathos.

We won't forget Miles indeed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Artistry-- Breathtaking Accomplishment!
I think I could go on for pages and pages raving about this seminal accomplishment in Shirley Horn's recording career, but I don't know that there are words to describe the magical meeting of voice, instruments and music.

Shirley Horn had been a star of the Washington DC jazz scene but relatively unknown outside the area (eschewing touring to stay home with her husband and daughter), except for a well-received album recorded at the late, lamented Vine Street Bar & Grill in Hollywood. This CD was a belated début in the jazz world, and from the first note, she grabs the opportunity brilliantly.

I have spent hours listening and re-listening to the opening cut, "The Music that Makes Me Dance", and have never ceased to be moved by the aching, touchingly passionate intensity of Shirley's singing (wistful and world-weary is such a hard combination to make work, but she nails it wonderfully). But her piano work is astonishing. I do not use the term flippantly. If you focus on the piano, you will hear the most gorgeous modulations this side of Debussy; who needs Oscar Peterson's swing chops when the phrasing and chord coloring are so beautiful (listen to the piano phrase after the line "His words and his words alone/Are the words that start my heart singing"-- sheer perfection!)?

After the heart-catching longing of that first cut, "Come Dance with Me" is an up-tempo rouser (well, up-tempo for Shirley), delightfully sung and performed by Shirley and her trio (bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams). The entire set is beautifully performed with a great roster of guests. My personal favorites are Toots Thielemans (in his hands a harmonica becomes a romantic instrument) and Miles Davis (spare, touching, suffused with passion and pain and wisdom).

The closing line, "All My Tomorrows", is a fitting cap to one of the outstanding recitals released in the 1990s. A declaration of the promise of a brighter future, Shirley's voice rings out in full belt at the climax-- behind the smoky whisper lies a strong, clear alto that she brings out sparingly but effectively. The future has been bright since the 1991 release of this CD-- Shirley's star has shone steadily ever since. I saw her at the Cinegrill in 1991 just after this was released, and then two weeks later at the Montreal Jazz Festival-- and was thrilled each time.

This is a desert-island disc-- run, don't walk, and add this to your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars A favorite
Shirley Horn has been a favorite of mine for many years. This release is another fine example of her sensitivity to the genre, the soft caress of her piano and the whisper of her voice lull you into her world. An extremely pleasurable listening experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pinnacle Recording..........
exhibiting nice contrasts in tempo.....but always romantic.

I consider this the best of all of Ms Horn's recordings. She provides a constant feeling of intimacy, by speaking as well as singing the song, making effective use of suspenseful pauses, similar to Miles Davis playing the trumpet. To me her strong suit is the ballad and her own playing of the piano. Her voice, piano skills, music selection, arrangements, and above all......her presentation sets her above all others. Listening to this cd, one can't help but fall under the spell of the mood that she creates.

"It Had To Be You" with accompanyment of Branford Marsalis is delivered with an aching intensity that brings up a strong mental image of dancing, barely moving, with that special someone and being completely oblivious to anything in the world but the music and the shared moment.

The title song, with its different tempo and the playing of Miles, is a favorite that, had this been on vinyl, would have been worn out long ago!

Other favorites are "Foolin' Myself" with Buck Hill, "Beautiful Love" and "Soothe Me" with Toots Thielemans, and two trio numbers, "Too Late Now" and "If You Go".

If you're a Shirley Horn fan, you have to have this one! Likewise if you like late, late night music, great vocals accompanied by some of the finest jazz musicians, and, most of all, if you have any romance in your soul, this is a MUST!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Music That Makes Me Dance
Shirley Horn's " You Won't Forget Me " is, in every sense of the word, a full bodied, tour de force ride through the many different aspects of jazz singing that this artist is capable of. While I may slighly favor " Here's To Life " her disc with arranger Johhny Mandel ( it's the romantic in me! ) this is, taken as an entire cd, far more encompassing and complete a listening experience. Perhaps I should explain. Playing, for the most part, as a trio, Shirley on piano, Charles Ables on bass and Steve Williams playing drums, Shirley tackles standards with alarming boldness and tenacity that I hear in few of today's singers. Beginning with " The Music That Makes Me Dance " she sets the tone by painting, in not too broad of strokes, a classic that is powerful not only in Shirley's subtle piano technique but also in her almost whisper like phrasing in conveying the songs tender emotions. Without skipping a beat she jumps right into " Come Dance With Me ", the Sinatra classic, having fun with the uptempo melody and phrasing the lyrics in a joyful, playful manner. Not everyone could pull off a medley this complex.

Obviously there is not enough time to go into detail about all of this wonderful albums highlight's but I did want to expand on just a few. Starting with " Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying " a bluesy number with an amazing solo by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. " Come Back To Me ", a midtempo that finds this singer pleading for her lover to return ( and almost making me forget about Barbra's version....almost! ). " Too Late Now " a tender selection that is literally hearbreaking in it's simplicity and " Soothe Me " ( with Toots Thieleman's incredible harmonica along for the ride ) quite possibly one of the most 'erotic' songs that I have certainly ever heard. Simply too hot! Last, and not least, is the title track " You Won't Forget Me ", a hauntingly beautiful song, with acompianment by Mile Davis, has Shirley phrasing against a background of Steve Williams drums keeping a clock like mid-tempo beat, having the singer pleading not to be forgetten by a former lover. The song is, at once, extremely atmopheric yet oddly beautiful and frightful at the same time. I simply cannot do this song any justice when attempting to describe it! It truly is that incredibly strong! See for yourself.

While I've left out other great songs featured on this amazing disc, i.e." It Had To Be You " and " I Just Found Out About Love " being two more, I can safely recommend adding this powerful cd to your collection. It truly is as complete a jazz package as you're going to find and featuring a singer who has the experience and hard earned wisdom to bring these selections to life. In ending, Shirley Horn is a jazz singer in the traditional sense ( along with Betty Carter ) and, if we're wise, can teach us so much about how incredibly forceful this style of music can be. Thanks Shirley! We all owe you one! ... Read more

180. Songs for Young Lovers/Swing Easy
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Asin: B00000AEVG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 33738
Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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This CD pairs the first two 10-inch records Sinatra recorded for Capitol. In 1955, full-length albums by popular singing stars were still few and far between. These two platters marked the beginning of Sinatra's phenomenally successful relationship with conductor-arranger Nelson Riddle, and presaged the "concept albums" that would become such an important part of Sinatra's Capitol period. Songs for Young Lovers includes such romantic numbers as "My Funny Valentine" and "I Get a Kick Out of You," while Swing Easy offers up danceable versions of "All of Me," "Just One of Those Things," and others. Sinatra sounds great, and there's magic galore in these grooves. --Dan Epstein ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sinatra was the perfect pop vocalist
These classic discs from the mid-1950s -- "Songs for Young Lovers" and "Swing Easy," now together in one CD -- marked the start of Sinatra's deserved and longstanding reputation as the best pop vocalist in American music. These discs were, thematically and musically, a precursor to "Songs for Swingin' Lovers," his better-known LP album with Nelson Riddle.

Some of the best standards from the so-called "Great American Songbook" are here -- "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and "All Of Me," to name a few. We've become so accustomed to them, through innumerable renditions by other artists, that they're almost shopworn. But Sinatra's unique vocal phrasing elevates them to their original beauty.

Sinatra's version of "My Funny Valentine" is certainly the best performance of that song ever recorded. Major talents have tackled it, from Tony Bennett to Chet Baker to Elvis Costello, but Sinatra's version stands above them all. When Sinatra sings "staaay, my little valentine, staaaaay," he stretches the note so beautifully that you really sense the ache.

His rendition of the provocative lyrics in "I Get A Kick Out Of You" is nicely handled, too: "Some get their kicks from cocaine/I'm sure that if I took even one sniff/It would bore me ter-rifff....ically, too." Quite amusing.

Nelson Riddle's orchestra is in fine form, too, throughout these discs. Especially in "Just One Of Those Things," Riddle reaches just the right balance, giving the song the "oomph" it needs but taking care not to overwhelm Sinatra's almost delicate vocals.

Sinatra wasn't the best American singer ever. The best jazz singers were superior -- for emotional resonance, nobody outshined Billie Holiday, and nobody had a voice that even compared to the beauty that was Sarah Vaughan's. But Sinatra was the best male pop stylist out there, and that is still saying a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Beginning For Frank & Capitol Records
This was a great concept-combining Songs For Young Lovers & Swing Easy. Both contain great material with fabulous arrangements by Nelson Riddle. Each song will lift your spirits after a long, hard day. Some standouts are They Can't Take That Away From Me, Get Happy, The Girl Next Door & I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter, among others. This cd is a good way to start if you're just building up a Sinatra collection. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where the Concept Album Got Started
The concept album owes a great debt to the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. Around 1953, Frank signed to Capitol records. He recorded a string of songs which fit well together and made what was then a complete album of them (back then, a complete album was 2 10 inch disks, later known as EP's). The result was 2 of the 1st ever concept albums- Songs for Young Lovers and Swing Easy. Without these 2 albums, there would be no Songs for Swingin' Lovers. Even Steve Hackett of Genesis acknowledged Sinatra's introduction to what's now known as the concept album. George Siravo wrote the arrangements (without credit) and Nelson Relson conducted them on both albums.

First, we'll have a look at Songs For Young Lovers. "My Funny Valentine" has to be one of the sweetest songs about unconditional love ("Your looks are laughable, unphotographable... but don't change your hair for me, not if you care for me"). "The Girl Next Door" (originally "The Boy Next Door" from Meet Me In St. Louis) is handled delicately with Nelson Riddle's warm orchestration. "A Foggy Day" recalls the classic piece "Country Gardens." "I Get a Kick out of You" (featured in Anything Goes) swings a little more ("I get a kick, you give me the boot!"). "They Can't Take That Away from Me" has to be the most autobiographical song Frank Sinatra never wrote ("the way you hold your knife, the way we dance 'till three"). After all, he was one of a kind. Closing the Lovers EP, he croons to perfection a melodious and romantic "Violets for Your Furs." This indeed would be a good album to play to impress your date.

Now for the Swing Easy disc. Get your dancing shoes ready, folks! "Just One of Those Things" opens up this album, a sentimental breakup song with things perfectly in perspective "We had been aware that our love affair was tooooo hot not to cool down." "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" is a great dreamer's song, with a hot arrangement by George Siravo. Siravo's arrangement on the classic "Jeepers Creepers" is equally as esquite as anything on Songs For Young Lovers. "Forget your troubles and just get happy" sings Ol' Blue Eyes on "Get Happy," with an arrangement that recalls the Big Band Era of the 1930's and 1940's. Perhaps that's what the mood of this album is all about- the titles "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" and "Takin' a Chance on Love" seem to sum up the theme in themselves. Closing this album is the classic "All of Me." Well, Frank Sinatra certainly gave all of himself on both Swing Easy and Songs For Young Lovers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sinatra's (almost) forgotten arranger, George Siravo
Given the phenomenal artistic and commercial success of Sinatra's work with Nelson Riddle, it's easy to overlook George Siravo, who wrote some outstanding arrangements for Sinatra both during the Columbia years and in the earliest days of the Capitol period.

It doesn't help, of course, that Riddle has been erroneously credited as the arranger of Sinatra's first (ten-inch) Capitol album (an EP by today's standards), the effortlessly buoyant SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS. But with the exception of "Like Someone in Love," it was Siravo, not Riddle, who arranged this wonderful album (now available as half of the SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS/SWING EASY compact disc). (Riddle conducted the recording sessions, which has led many to assume that he also wrote the arrangements. Years later, Riddle was still apologetic that Siravo hadn't received credit, though the mix-up was not Riddle's fault.)

Now, having said all this, I must dissent from the revisionist attempts to portray the late-period Columbia Sinatra-Siravo collaborations (collected recently on the Sony CD, SWING AND DANCE WITH FRANK SINATRA) as lost classics. To be perfectly frank (to coin a phrase), FS swings like a rusty gate on these tracks.

To the singer's credit, however, he knew precisely what he wanted, and when he left Columbia, it was a sheaf of Siravo charts that he decided to take on the road with him. By the time he inked his contract with Capitol, he was (as he would later sing in a remake of one of his Tommy Dorsey hits, "Oh! Look at Me Now") a new man -- as the recordings prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. Simply put, SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS contains some of the warmest, most effortlessly buoyant singing of Sinatra's career. "My Funny Valentine" in particular is a minor miracle, with the singer swinging so gently he threatens to float away.

So next time you listen to SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS or the always-rousing Capitol version of "All of Me" (the one chart on SWING EASY believed to be primarily the work of Siravo, possibly with some expanded orchestration by Riddle), raise a glass to not only a superb arranger, but one of the all-but-unheralded men behind the scenes who gave Frank Sinatra a creative boost throughout "all those in-between years" -- George Siravo.

5-0 out of 5 stars "My friend, the lamppost."
Good things often come but once, and that special sound Sinatra had when he was making his comeback in the early 1950s is unlike anything that came before or after. His voice is light and crisp, but a shade deeper and smokier than "The Voice" of the 1940s. By 1956, Sinatra's vocals were oozing a manly but melifluous richness, but on his first albums-- 10" EPs actually-- for Capitol Records, he is less about smoothness than direct, clear delivery (although Frank was always about that too). This was the fresh, hip sound that put Sinatra on the path to a new career peak, although it really was the hit single "Young At Heart" that gave him the biggest boost. Still, "Songs For Young Lovers" became the blueprint for all the Capitol albums that followed, branching in one direction from fast songs like Porter's "I Get A Kick Out Of You" and in another direction from slow songs such as Gershwin's "Like Someone in Love." This Gershwin song is the only number on "Young Lovers" arranged by Nelson Riddle, and it shows, although the George Siravo arrangements Riddle conducts are also vintage Sinatra. "My Funny Valentine" is good to hear any day of the year, including February 14th, and even members of PETA will get a kick out of the gorgeously sung "Violets For Your Furs." Sinatra puts the definitive stamp on Fred Astaire's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and he would never do better on "A Foggy Day." But "Swing Easy"-- the second part of this generous coupling-- is maybe even better. Great album cover for one thing-- although we miss the lamppost of "Young Lovers" that would pop up on so many future Sinatra albums. "Wow!" is what you will say after hearing Frank swing like mad on Porter's "Just One Of Those Things," one of his greatest recordings, I think. It's all fun from there with tongue-in-cheek "Write Myself A Letter" (just edging out the later version with Basie), "Sunday," "Jeepers Creepers," and Judy Garland's "Get Happy." It's amazing how much Sinatra learned in the swinging department since some of his later Columbia recordings, for he jumps all over the place on these eight tracks. On none more so than "All Of Me"-- another one of his very best songs, with a knock-out lyric and dead-on delivery by Sinatra. Would Sinatra surpass himself with "Swingin' Lovers" and "Only The Lonely"? Perhaps, but never again did he have that magical, classic sound captured on this most perfect of Sinatra CDs. If your desert island has a CD player, make sure you take this one along (and an extension cord). ... Read more

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