4 LPs on 2 CDs
Lurlean Hunter (1928-1983) was, with all her skills, one of the most underappreciated singers in America. Other singers, who held her in universal high regard, were in no doubt as to her quality. A singers' singer, she was revered for her near perfection in vocal styling, technique, and delivery, gifts she blended into a captivating combination. This distinction is self-evident in the four albums she recorded during her career: Lonesome Gal (1955), Night Life (1956), Stepping Out (1957), and Blue and Sentimental (1960). On them she is accompanied by orchestras filled by some of the best New York jazz musicians. The skillful writing was provided by a handful of top arrangers, including Quincy Jones, Marion Evans, Manny Albam, Al Cohn, Ernie Wilkins, Phil Moore, and Jimmy Giuffre. All of them with the exception of Cohn and Wilkins also conducted their own scores. Throughout she is refreshingly unselfconscious, her voice strong and firm, her conception mature and intelligent and her phrasing meaningful. Blessed with fantastic intonation, effortless ease and innate musicianship, she also had an innately lyrical approach to the songs she sang, and they flowed out of her like something made of rich velvet, done in exquisite taste.