Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Very Thought of You: Decca Recordings 1951-57
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
A singer deserving of reappraisal
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeri Southern's career, as outlined in the liner notes to this compilation, was decidedly an odd one, and its trajectory explains to a large extent why she remains less known than she should be. She had originally wanted to pursue a career as a jazz pianist, the singing only being added to her act at the urging of promoters. Despite her vocal talents, Southern had the misfortune of completely lacking the personality required to be a pop singer: she was extremely shy & was often afflicted with stage fright. She also became discouraged as record companies increasingly tried to foist poor, commercially-oriented material on her. After several unhappy years she retired at the age of 36; she continued to play, teach & compose privately (even writing a string quartet) but never returned to public performance.This disc suggests that Southern was an important singer, one who should have had a longer & happier career. The compilation is split between a selection of orchestra-backed tracks, and eight small-group tracks. One intriguing track has her singing "When I Fall in Love" in front of an orchestra conducted by the composer, Victor Young. There are fine renditions too of such standards as "My Ship" and "The Very Thought of You". The small-group tracks give one a sample of Jeri's piano-playing and (in the case of "I Don't Know Where to Turn") her composing. Both are excellent; she had an extremely adventurous ear that leads her on very creative excursions (not without one or two harmonic wrong-turns in one solo). Good to hear such an individual player from the period--it's very sad she didn't get more of a chance to record in intimate settings, as it's obvious she felt most comfortable in them.This is a lovely disc, likely to interest anyone who follows singers from the mid-century. It suggests that Southern's work deserves further reissue, rather than just a "best-of": one can only hope the interest created by this disc will induce the record company to release some more material."
Why so shy?
John W. Cotner | Belmont, MI USA | 08/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"jeri southern was raised to play the piano in omaha, nebraska and had to learn to sing all over again when a well-meaning but misguided high school music teaching nun ruined her voice by overtaxing it with operatic arias which reduced her upper range. she responded by learning to sing in a lower register and softer voice. thank god for that nun... jeri's daughter, who put this loving tribute album together, is rooted in classical music and opera. she recognized that, because her shy and stage-frightened mother had retired so long ago, many people were unaware of her existence; she is not even listed in the jazzhound or other artist compendiums, a true injustice, to her and us. (thank god for that daughter...) jeri is not the cult figure that blossom dearie is, but only because, in her obscurity, she falls below the cultist's radar screen. she was miles davis's favorite signer (he once told her, in his raspy voice and inimitably, politically incorrect manner, that she "sounded just like a spook"), and she was charles haden's favorite singer as well; he includes her "every time we say goodbye" on his haunted heart album. jeri does sound like ella at times, but comparisons to legends are not necessary to bootstrap her up to the level she deserves; her diction and phrasing, which she copied from sinatra and nat cole, as well as her trained musicality, are superb. her piano playing and orchestral arrangements on these songs are lush and very reminiscent of the late forties and early fifties -- which is the whole point of why the daughter brought this album out in the first place. this is a treasure of an album and a must-have for fans of female jazz vocalists of a certain era; it evokes ella, blossom, june christie, jo stafford, maybe julie london -- and in her more plaintive moments, billie. you will find yourself listening to it in the wee, small hours of the morning. buy it; you won't regret it."
Jeri is lost in the shuffle
frank j alwaise | nassau cty. ny | 03/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"a splendid selection of songs by a sadly neglected singer from the fifties.jeri ranks right there with the very best of the jazz-pop vocalists of all time.she has special combination of vulnerability and sophistication in her voice that makes her performances unique and rewarding.my favorites include ALL IN FUN,REMIND ME, MY SHIP,NO MOON AT ALL, LIKE PAGES IN A BOOK.and her own WHO CAN I TURN TO NOW.jeri has to fight through some stilted orchestral arrangements on some of the songs, but her fabulous ennunciation and clear as a bell voice always manages to weather the storm.when given a chance to display her talent as a pianist jeri is first rate there too.if you know and love singers such as blossom dearie,carmen McRae,sylvia sims.the great ella and such treat yourself to THE DECCA YEARS and the incomperable JERI SOUTHERN"