Limited edition Deluxe 8CD set featuring the best female voices in jazz history. This is no ordinary compilation, but an anthology of 15 complete original albums by some of the best loved jazz vocalists: Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Anita O day, Abbey Lincoln, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald etc.
Billy Eckstine was looking back more than forward by 1960, and his second record for Roulette featured two remakes of familiar hits he'd enjoyed almost 20 years earlier. He also covered two average themes from forgottable movies, the first being the title song (from a Yul Brynner vehicle), the second being "Secret Love" (from a Doris Day film). It may read like a desultory date, and indeed it would have been if not for the presence of a solid jazz band and the surprisingly sympathetic arrangements of big-brass auteur Billy May.
This CD has an unusual cover picture showing Billy Eckstine singing while holding a trumpet. He does indeed take a few short trumpet solos on the well-rounded program, 24 songs (13 previously unissued) performed during one night in Las Vegas. Eckstine, who is backed by an orchestra arranged by his pianist Bobby Tucker, is heard in prime form on a variety of standards. His baritone voice (which was quite influential) straddles the boundary between middle-of-the-road pop and jazz on such numbers as "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "Without a Song," "Prisoner of Love," "I Apologize", "Alright, Okay, You Win" and "'Deed I Do." A good example of his talents.
For her entry into the increasingly popular Great American Songbook subgenre, Diane Schuur de-emphasizes the vocal histrionics that in the past have come close to spoiling some of her recordings and maintains a steady, clear, exuberant tone. Good move: one of Schuur's gifts is her multi-octave range, but she has often over-relied on it at the expense of whatever song she was singing. Here, she takes to the classic compositions of George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, and the like with a respectfulness and glee that allow her to frame and expose these culturally embedded lyrics and melodies without beating on them.
We all have a Walt Disney cartoon tune or melody in mind, reminding us of magic afternoons spent with our parents when we were kids or with our own children now that we are grown-ups. It is a bit of this special feeling and pleasure that artists such as Gregory Porter, Melody Gardot, Stacey Kent, Jamie Cullum and other leading music stars share with us on the new project produced by Jay Newland and arranged and directed by Rob Mounsey, as they perform big band jazz covers of songs that are part of every kids heritage. Whether they come from Scandinavia, Andalusia, North Americas big cities or the Balkan plains, 21st century kids have the Disney magic in common, an imaginary world where both soft and wild tunes are closely linked to cult scenes from Uncle Walts animation classics.