"The voice is fresh and incredibly flexible, and although this recording is a compilation it shows Carmen in top form through many different arranging styles. "My Romance" is a small gem. Thouroughly engaging listening from top to finish."
CARMEN AT FIRST BLOOM
Joshua E. Hinkson Jr. | Mount Vernon, NY United States | 07/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These selections show the young and extremely talented Carmen Mcrae surrounded by lush strings and wonderful orchestrations. Her voice here still has that distinctive bite however it is sweeter than the later Mcrae. She shows that she can handle the Great American Songwriters just as well as Ella and Sarah. Standout songs are Yesterdays, Nice Work if You Can Get It and surprisingly Summetime."
Introduction to young Carmen McRae
Sasha | at sea...sailing somewhere | 04/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great compilation of early recordings by majestic Carmen McRae from 1955-59 and boy was she good or what. At the time McRae recorded for "Decca" and its interesting to note that very same company pushed tons of novelties on Ella Fitzgerald but Carmen wouldn't have it - she recorded standards from american songbook and her choice of composers (Cole Porter,Gershwins,Irving Berlin,Richard Rogers) was superb.Nobody could get McRae to record "Chew chew your bubble gum" like Ella did - and than Ella became universaly known as "Lady Jazz" while McRae went on to became cult singer? Young McRae had very pretty voice,appealing but controled and slightly detached - even her face on cover photo is serious,focused and you can tell she was not somebody to push around.Its precisely because of her inner strenght (and excellent musicianship,of course) that I always loved McRae,thought some might say she was cold - well,yes,if compared with Doris Day or any cheesecake sweetie girl songbird of the time. The aristocratic quality she projected is hard to find elsewhere and not once in whole of her discography can we find anything approaching commercial compromise,this lady never sang silly note just because it might sell. "Decca" surrounded her with some strings but its not bad - occasional ballad and lot of nice swing with unobtrusive combo in the background,in fact it does sound like her typical club gig from late 1950s. Most of the songs are taken from her early LPs and two of them ("My man's gone now" and "Summertime") from "Porgy and Bess" she recorded with Sammy Davis Jr,these last two unfortunately drowned in strings but its mistake of arranger/producer and not McRae who sings as usual,nothing less than superb."
The Great Lady of Jazz
Reno Baldomero | 11/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For some reason, Carmen McRae's name gets lost in-between names like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. In my humble opinion, Carmen was the most subtle, and the one with the best taste. Her integrity cost her dearly, and she never managed to score that one big hit that would secure her place in music history, but... BUT, she didn't need a hit song. Carmen worked harder than any other singer around, and she slowly managed to make a name for herself, and by the time of her death, was generally considered to be one of the finest, and most important, American singers in history. Her phrasing was unique (Mabel Mercer was a clear influence), and her diction well-nigh, and near perfect. This collection showcases a Carmen McRae at her very best. With class, style, dignity, and respect, she sings her heart out, uniquely, but always well poised. A real singer's singer."
Patricia Mccarty | Modesto,CA USA | 10/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love3 this album. Carmen has been a favorite jazz singer of mine for many years and this is a great collection of her wonderful style and voice. A must for Carmen lovers."