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CABU Jazz Masters - Une anthologie 1954-1956

Carmen McRae

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Album Review

A double-CD 48-track compilation from the mid-'50s, this collection pretty much sums up what Carmen McRae was capable of and consistent in doing. Most of this is standard fare and all of it is well produced, and shows McRae performing with mostly small jazz ensembles. There's little in the way of filler or sappy stringy tunes. Among the more obscure tracks are "Tip Toe Gently," "Misery," and "I Go for You." The remainder gives you the whole nine yards of McRae in this time period, as she shows equal expertise in swing, ballads, and blues. Her voice is mature and powerful. One quibble — Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite" is done quite well, but the lyrics are incorrectly credited to Eddie Jefferson. This set is highly recommended for fans as well as newbies to the great Carmen McRae. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 08 April 1920 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Carmen McRae always had a nice voice (if not on the impossible level of an Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan) but it was her behind-the-beat phrasing and ironic interpretations of lyrics that made her most memorable. She studied piano early on and had her first important job singing with Benny Carter's big band (1944), but it would be another decade before her career had really gained much momentum. McRae married and divorced Kenny Clarke in the '40s, worked with Count Basie (briefly) and Mercer Ellington...
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