Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Rarities: Thinking of You
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Lee Wiley: A Rare Treasure
Harry Chandless | Hasbrouck Heights, NJ USA | 07/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is well named: it is rare to find not only these recordings of the unforgettable jazz voice of Lee Wiley and to hear her breathy, almost raspy tones. It is also rare to find a CD set up so logically, with great liner notes, and great sound from the recordings going back to 1933 when she was just a teenager. Her voice was precise and yet flowing with the proper timing and expression never equalled by any of the more publicized jazz vocalists. The notes follow through with just the right amount of key information, in chronological order from her teenage years to the final bit on theJack Paar TV Show in 1959, when she was 44. She was half Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma who came to the East and was raved about by jazzmen, but never was promoted to the extent of some others, because she would not compromise her style or sing a song she didn't like. She sang a lot of Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, and Richard Rodgers, all on this CD. Listen to several of the tracks about 2/3 through the CD and hear the band start off at a faster tempo than she obviously thought proper. Utterly unflappable, with great art and professionalism, she started singing at the correct tempo for the number and the band quickly follows and it is done, as everything she did, beautifully and effortlessly. She wrote track 11 ("Ghost of a Chance") with Bing Crosby and she also wrote Track 15 ("Any Time, And Day, Anywhere"). What a song! When you hear it, you'll wonder why you probably haven't heard it before. There is so much greatness among the 21 tracks on this CD. You can listen to track 8, "You Leave Me Breathless" and nearly cry or shout for joy. It is amazing. She was amazing. Track 18 is a recording from the Rustic Lodge in New Jersey on April 4, 1952, when I met her. Henry "Red" Allen, a black trumpet player who I knew from seeing him at the Central Plaza jazz concerts in New York City (his face actually did turn red when he played) was there and played in the band with her. He asked her to sit down at our table during a break. To say that a young law student was in awe of her is putting it mildly, but she actually giggled and bought me a drink. I never thought I would be able to hear so much of her again, as is on this CD. When she died in 1975, we lost an American musical treasure."