Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Wonderful...but Deceptive Packaging
Herschel Browne | 06/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's no doubt about it, the recordings that Helen Merrill made with Clifford Brown are among the best vocal sessions in the history of recorded jazz. And they're all on the original "Helen Merrill" album. This release bills itself as the "complete recordings", implying that there is additional Merrill/Brown material that you don't already have if you have the "Helen Merrill" disc, but none of the additional tracks on this CD features Clifford Brown. The additional tracks are actually the entire "Helen Merrill with Strings" album. You might be able to figure this out from the description, but I doubt it. I think this packaging is calculated to deceive."
Can't say enough good things about this recording
Eric C. Sedensky | Madison, AL, US | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Early in my jazz career, about two years ago, I bought Helen Merrill with Clifford Brown. My review went something like this:
"The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings: Ninth Editionin its comments about this album says, "Helen Merrill has never made a bad record..." I daresay this recording is one of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever heard. Helen just has it all going on. Her voice is husky but smooth, containing a masculine force in its utter femininity. She makes you believe every word she is singing, immediately as you hear it. Her mastery of unforced phrasing, tempo, and rhythm are deft, and places her work easily in, if not above, the greatest jazz singers (Sinatra, Holiday, Fitzgerald, Torme, etc.). Clifford Brown's work, too, is tremendous and is as good a complementary force as one could ever want. The interplay between Clifford's solos and Helen's silky sonic statements is just phenomenal. It's almost possible to overlook the fact that Quincy Jones began cutting his producer's teeth on this recording, but he certainly had every opportunity to create a masterpiece while working with Merrill and Brown, and this recording succeeds on every level, musically and technically. One quickly runs out of superlatives to describe this work. Honestly, this recording is so good, it makes me feel a little angry I wasn't old enough to be aware of Helen in her heyday. My only regret now is that I didn't know about the Complete Recordings version of this CD, which I guess has to be at least twice as long as the measly thirty two and a half minutes on this one. I've already added the complete recordings, and every other Helen Merrill CD of note, to my wish list. Yes, I want more, but make no mistake, Helen satisfies your every musical craving on this CD."
And now, I have the complete recordings, and it is everything that review says, and more, and longer. This is the best jazz vocal record ever made, bar none."
A LADY WITH CLASS
DAVID HALL | USA | 11/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered HELEN MERRILL With CLIFFORD BROWN: Complete Recordings, via Amazon after listening to samples of it on-line, and am so pleased that I did. It is my introduction to this wonderful Jazz vocalist. Ms. Merrill has a warm, intimate, lovely sound and style. The tunes she's included on the album are all very tasty, and she's in the very best company with the musicians backing her: Clifford Brown Sextet, among others, and the arrangers: Quincy Jones, Richard Heymen. There is a quality throughout the album that I personally find in short supply these days: ROMANCE. Helen Merrill's voice and musical sensibility reflect a time when women were ladies,men were gentlemen, and each of the sexes complemented the other. The word for that kind of romantic chemistry is POLARITY. It was a quality at the heart of the films, singers and musicians audiences once fell in love with. That had everything to do with the ROMANCE certain arists inspired in us and our lives. This album was recdorded in Los Angeles in 1954-55, and it sounds as fresh and new as though it were recorded today. Exceptional artistic creation has a timeless quality to it, for example Miles Davis' KIND OF BLUE, or Bill Evans' SUNDAY'S AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, or Jimmy Cobb's new release: JAZZ IN THE KEY OF BLUE. This album has that kind of quality,too. Bogie said it a long time ago in the movie Casablanca: "Here's looking at you kid!" And its still good news. Here's to Helen Merrill: A LADY WITH CLASS."