Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Not an essential Carmen McRae recording.
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've listened to this CD a couple of times. It was recorded for the Bethlehem label back in the mid 1950's. The technicians did a good job of cleaning up the sound. But after listening to it twice, I have no desire to keep returning to it. There are many other albums by Carmen I like a lot better. I would have to say the only reason to buy this CD is if you want your Carmen McRae collection to be as complete as possible."
A Bargain-Priced Recording
Michael E. Hund | Buffalo, NY United States | 09/28/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Carmen McRae re-issue comes from a Bethlehem Records disc titled "Easy To Love", laid down in New York City in 1954. Among the first of her recordings, three tracks, "You Made Me Care", "The Last Time For Love", and "Misery" are with the Tony Scott Quartet, with Tony Scott on clarinet, Dick Katz on piano, Skip Fawcett on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums, and were recorded in December of 1954. An additional four tracks, the title tune "Easy To Love", along with "If I'm Lucky", "Tip Toe Gently", and "Old Devil Moon" have Mat(t) Mathews on accordion, Herbie Mann on flute, Mundell Lowe on guitar, Wendell Marshall on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums, and were recorded on October 6, 1954. The liner notes include a gushing three page overview of Carmen McRrae's early career by Bill Simon.
Most of the information just given is not available on the CD, though. Name mis-spellings, lack of recording dates, and who's playing on which track are a bit of a spoiler for this re-release. Even worse, an additional song "Too Much In Love To Care", with an alternate take, and an alternate stereo version, making up almost twenty-five percent of the disc, may be, from what I can gather from other sources, an early Nina Simone recording for Bethlehem Records, and not Carmen McRae at all.
With this said, however, the first six songs on the CD are a definite must have for fans of Carmen McRae. Her voice is immaculate, and her phrasing and vocal inflections are already perfect. The musicians are content to lay down a strong foundation, lay back, and let Ms. McRae's voice lead you through the songs.
This re-issue has been compiled and remastered by Tom Mouton at Frankford Wayne Mastering Labs, New York, and engineered by Rick Essig, with varying degress of success.
While the original tracks are very nicely remastered, avoid the alternate stereo versions. A huge mistake was made somewhere, whether in the original stereo mastering, or in the newer re-mastering, with all the instruments brought annoyingly to the front, and Carmen McRae's vocals placed deep into the background, off to the left side. Ms. McRae sounds as if she were singing from inside some sequestered echo chamber. The effect is truly terrible. Rather than being the focal point of the music, she comes across as if she were interrupting a small group of musicians gathered together, after-hours, for an intimate jazz session.
Even with all of its flaws, this disc is still worth having."