Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sings Lover Man & Other Billie Holiday Classics
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
One of the All Time Greats
Rick Cornell | Reno, Nv USA | 10/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In June of 2004, "Down Beat" Magazine's Frank-John Hadley polled 73 of the top jazz singers in the world for a list of the 30 greatest vocal jazz albums of all time. This one ended up #5. I say, "Right on." This is truly one of the all-time greats.
In fact, ironically, this one ended up higher than any of Billie Holiday's albums ("Billie Holiday on Commodore"--#8, in case you're interested.), and this is a Lady Day tribute. But after a number of listens, I'm here to say--it's no accident. The worlds' finest know what they're talking about.
Carmen McRae swings like mad here, in a way that Lady Day never did. She even swings the last chorus of "Yesterdays", and "Trav'lin' Light", two songs I've not heard swung before. And the way she swings "Them There Eyes", "I'm Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away the Key)", "Miss Brown To You", "I Cried For You" and "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" will have you snapping your fingers and dancing around the room. Terrific, terrific stuff--and Nat Adderley and Lockjaw Davis' solos on "Moonlight" make this rival the immortal version of Lady Day's.
But Lady Day was the tops for honest emotion, and Ms. McRae is every bit her equal here. Carmen hits every color of anger, bitterness and resignation in "Strange Fruit", as Lady Day did in the famous original. Her handling of the phrase "They Don't Come 'Round No More" in "God Bless the Child" matches the world-weary disappointment in dependent false friends that Billie Holiday conveyed in the original. And when Ms. McRae sings "Make Love to Me" in "Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You be)", there not only is no doubt about what she means, but you better drop what you're doing and get busy, Mister!!
BTW, the 73 have Carmen's "Carmen Sings Monk" at #4. These two albums rank higher than any album cut by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan or Miss Holiday. After listening to this, I'm thinking that, as revered as she was, Carmen McRae was probably the most underrated jazz singer who ever lived. RC
Carmen's Got Billie Under Her Skin
Peter | East of Los Angeles | 04/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD probably ranks among the top 5 CD's Carmen McRae's ever recorded, and we're talking about an artist who's done close to 70 in her career. What distinguishes this particular CD are the strong lineup of chosen songs and group of sidemen selected to back Carmen. As any fan of Carmen knows, Billie was her idol and mentor; Carmen basically lived and breathed these songs because they're so closely identified to Lady Day. The tribute album was a natural progression for Carmen, though not without some resistance. Carmen even notes in the liner that the record company wouldn't let her record the album until almost two years after Lady's death. Each song has Carmen's heart and soul written all over it. It is truly an inspired performance because these songs mean so much to her personally. One or two of the guys here actually played with Billie as well such as Harry "Sweets" Edison. Norman Simmons on piano makes a great counterpart to Oscar Peterson. On a technical and emotional level, this is one of Carmen's great works of the heart and with much love to her Lady. Her fans are all the better for it."
McRae's fitting tribute to her musical idol, Billie Holiday.
Peter | 06/14/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"McRae recorded for numerous labels during her career. "Lover Man" is without doubt her finest for Columbia, one of her best overall and quite possibly her first "great" recording. Norman Simmons' clean and tasty arrangements free McRae from string-laden efforts on previous labels, and thus allow her to utilize her "jazz chops" on record as never before. Although the songs are all associated with her musical idol, McRae never copies Billie Holiday. She instead puts lessons learned from the master about phrasing, improvisation and feeling into her own distinct sound. A worthy addition to any collection of jazz or popular singing."