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Highlights In Jazz

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Album Review

Maxine Sullivan was still going strong at the age of 75 when she was the featured artist at Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights in Jazz (a popular concert series in New York City) in March 1987. With a capable rhythm section (pianist Derek Smith, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Butch Miles), and several guest soloists, Sullivan was in an upbeat mood as she performed six standards, while also chatting with the audience in between numbers. Her romp through "Just One of Those Things" (with a fine solo by Hinton) and a gently swinging take of "As Long As You Live" will put anyone in a good mood. As she stepped offstage, tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate and ageless trumpeter Doc Cheatham led a brief set, including a bluesy "In a Mellotone" and a lovely "I Can't Get Started," the latter which is highlighted by Cheatham's muted horn and friendly, eloquent vocals. Trumpeter Warren Vache, trombonist Bill Watrous and clarinetist Phil Bodner join the fun for the lively "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Finally, Maxine Sullivan retakes the stage and everyone sizzles in an extended workout of "St. Louis Blues." Sadly, this was Sullivan's last recording, as she died less than a month after this performance.

Biography

Born: 13 May 1911 in Homestead, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

A subtle and lightly swinging jazz singer, Maxine Sullivan's delivery was very likable, and she did justice to all of the lyrics she sang during her long career. After moving to New York, Sullivan sang during intermissions at the Onyx Club and was discovered by pianist Claude Thornhill. Thornhill recorded her with a sympathetic septet singing a couple of standards and two Scottish folk songs performed in swinging fashion -- "Annie Laurie" and "Loch Lomond." The latter became a big hit and Sullivan's...
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