Search - Carmen McRae :: Bittersweet

Carmen McRae
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Carmen McRae
Title: Bittersweet
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Koch Records
Release Date: 4/9/2002
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Vocal Jazz, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 099923859321, 081227630560

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CD Reviews

Giovanni | Chicago, IL | 04/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Great to see this album on CD. Carmen Mcrae really shows the world "what she's got" here. For years, due to bad management and Decca's fault, Carmen floundered about, making small jazz clubs and small hit records. It's no wonder she flew from label to label for many years. Had she been left to wallow at Decca, she might have never gotten past the commercial tunes, such as the case with Ella Fitzgerald, who also lacked that backing at Decca...we may have never known any more of her than LADY BE GOOD if the powers that be had their way. Happily, that wasnt the case for Ella or Carmen, but I digress... Carmen Mcrae fans will relish this very moody collection of superior ballads. Recorded in 1964, this set finds Carmen backed by (mostly) her trio. It was her first pairing with pianist Norman Simmons, and this recording session (all the songs were cut at one date!) resulted in a 10 plus year union between him and Mcrae. Right from the start, her ethereal a cappella intro to WHEN SUNNY GETS BLUE will give you goose bumps. She eases the arrangement along before finishing with a satiny tag. Carmen's rendition of Tommy Wolf's SPRING CAN REALLY HANG YOU UP THE MOST is downright uncanny, and really captures the emotion behind the changing of the seasons for the seasoned storyteller that Carmen has become during this number. Classic jazz performance of this hard to sing song. The husband and wife team of Andre Previn and Dory Langdon provide Carmen (and now, us) with the superb ballad SECOND CHANCE. (Had only heard Sammy Davis sing this one on an old LP before) Carmen really puts this one away. IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW is another oft overlooked jazz staple, stemming from a passage in Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High" assignment (thanks to the liner notes, my suspicions were correct about the birth of this tune!) became a song Carmen would often use throughout the remainder of her life. There are notes played on the piano and an effect by Curtis Boyd on drums at the end of the Burke/Van Heusen evergreen HERE'S THAT RAINY DAY that sum up the entire outing, and Carmen's voice is particularly well complemented by said ending. Of GHOST OF YESTERDAY, one gets to thinking of ROUND MIDNIGHT, but in all actuality this was a Lady Day vehicle that Carmen had been wanting to record for some time, and her timing (as always) was impeccable, and it shows here. Lastly, I'd like to mention the plaintiveness in the Duke Ellington penned COME SUNDAY. It makes the message just as sweet and beautiful as the messenger. Carmen would go on to record similar collections of ballads (SECOND TO NONE on the MAINSTREAM label being one) and some say her best work started later, after her less than fruitful Decca period. I concur...and this fantastic CD is proof."
An absolutley stunnig performance of ballads.
Richard Meyer | Woodbridge,VA | 09/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I recorded this LP from a friend years & erased/lost the tape.I knew it was excellent but was a lot younger then & did not realize how exquisite.Gag me with a spoon on "If You Could Love Me";the story of my life; don't remember that one,this my favorite ballad of hers & have been collecting Carmen's for 30 yrs.It is refreshing to hear Carmen do 4 or so Sarah Vaughan classics,a different but superb approach.All of the other songs are impeccable.The liner notes are interesting how Carmen called Mundell Lowe at the last minute because a previous hired guitarist couldn't read Norman Simmons' arrangements.Funny Sarah did a fantistic accompany by Mundell & just a bass vile on a Roulette recording entitled"After Hours".Carmen sings all these pithy standards with a piano player,guitarist & a bass vile player.Sarah also does another Roulette"Sarah+2"with just a guitarist,Barney Kessel& bass vile Joe Comfort backing her where Sarah also sings that lovely song "When Sunny Gets Blue"This Bittersweet& the 2 Sarah albums are not rythmical with big orchestras but are filled with pithy standards enunciated & sung to perfection for the jazz connoiseur;nothing light to click to click your heels up to."Bittersweet" surpasses "Book of Ballads" on Decca which is also excellent.When you think of all ballads by an artist, you say OH NO! But not with Carmen or Sarah.I fully agree with the other review.Beg,borrow,buy or steal this one it is a must.It says in the notes distributed by Atlantic if so why can't they manage to reprint Carmen's 1st album on Atlantic "For Once In My Life" an absolute masterpiece.They say there is one reprinted in Japan.They say there are free computers, pictures of Big Foot,and a CD of Carmen McRae doing "For Once In My Life" but I have never touched,seen or had one in my hand."
At Last!!
J.Archie Arno | No.Attleboro,, MA. United States | 01/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'll try to keep this simple. she's one of the best ballad singers ever. mundell lowe is one of the best sidemen ever. If you don't think this is the best of carmens ballads, i'll... nevermind. an old beatnik pal remembered these tunes being "juke box" cuts {2.5 3.5 minutes} and i bought the vinyl. spring can really hang you up the most"will rip outyour heart."how did he look"is great carmen and guitar as it should be. I waited years for this C D and would have paid almost anything for it,and then voolah|| there it was. buy it you wont be happy, you'll jump up and down!!!"