Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Helen Merrill: Brownie; A Homage To Clifford Brown
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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So Many Good Things To Say About This CD..............
Robert J. Ament | Ballwin, MO United States | 01/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"that one could probably write a book about the participating musicians as well as the music and the musician to whom it is a memorial and a dedication.
I've listened to this album often and am constantly struck by the hard work , dedication, love and emotion, and inspiration that seems to be spontaneously shared in these few cuts. It is a beautiful tribute to a brilliant trumpet icon with an all too brief career.
This album commemorates Clifford Brown, and in particular the album, "Helen Merrill", that he cut with the singer 40 years earlier. I have that album and I would recommend it also.
There are only three songs from that album which are played here. This is where it gets really unique. I think there is a story in each track of the album. Certainly the trumpet players, Lew Soloff, Roy Hargrove, Tom Harell and Wallace Roney are among the best today. The rhythm section is HUGE with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Victor Lewis. The uniqueness that I referred to is that Clifford Brown's solos on the three recordings from 40 years earlier were painstakingly transcribed and and played in unison by the four on "Born To Be Blue", overdubbed by Lew Soloff on "Don't Explain" and reproduced by Soloff, Hargrove and Harrell on "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To". If you have listened to Clifford's solos.....not an easy task.
The other tracks are just as compelling with so many highlights.....Tom Harrell doing a solo rendition of "Joy Spring"....Wallace Roney with the rhythm section on "Daahoud"..... sensitive solos throughout including the wonderful piano of Kenny Barron.......and the voice of Helen Merrill.
I can't think of another vocalist who would have had the emotional impact on this album that Ms Merrill does. A personal favorite of mine over the years has been the Mel Torme composition "Born To Be Blue". In my opinion she was born to sing this song......although this quality of hers, a haunting voice with a melancholy sadness in her delivery, carries over well on "Don't Explain" and "I'll Remember April" as well. Her vocal on "Born To Be Blue", Tom Harrell on the obligato solo and Clifford's solo done with four trumpets still blows me away emotionally.
Make no mistake, this is a terrific jazz album, one that you will play repeatedly especially if you are familiar with Clifford Brown......and if not......you still appreciate fine jazz, excellent trumpet work, and a vocalist still in a class by herself, then you will appreciate having this album."
So long, Brownie.
Robert J. Ament | 10/21/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bet everybody who reads this knows about Brownie, how about you? Without any explanations, I think the original works of Brownie and Helen Merrill are just great. As some singer sings, "Only the goods die young". Probably, Brownie was one of them. Ever since Brownie died, Merrill always thought of some types of tribunes for him and this is the album. I think the sounds of Brownie is really completed by three men and Merrill's voice is still wonderful even though it got old. Like antiques, Merrill's voice is now beautiful than ever. Very passionated and this album runs great. So long, Brownie."