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Jazz 'Round Midnight: Arthur Prysock

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Album Review

This is a fine collection of orchestrated ballads by the underrated pop-jazz baritone singer Arthur Prysock. After an extended stint with jump-blues bandleader Buddy Johnson in the '40s, Prysock cut solo sides in the '50s and '60s for Decca, Mercury, King, Verve, and various small labels. The songs on Jazz 'Round Midnight all come from Verve recordings cut throughout the '60s and feature Prysock's sensual pipes framed by tasteful strings and blues-tinged combo accompaniment (alongside Ram Ramirez's fine organ work, brother Red Prysock contributes a handful of smoky tenor solos akin to those heard on his own solo R&B instrumentals from the '50s). Highlights include excellent renditions of "Little Girl Blue," "I'll Be Around," and "(I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance," in addition to rarely recorded gems such as "How Did She Look" and "Only for You." For jazz vocal fans who frown upon the lush, more pop oriented end of the genre, this title is not for you. If you like the kind of stylized "bedroom soul" and jazz vocals Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, and even Barry White, to some extent, excelled at, then this Prysock collection is a great buy.


Born: January 2, 1929 in Spartanburg, SC

Genre: Jazz

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

Arthur Prysock was perfectly at home singing jazz, blues, or R&B, but his smooth-as-silk baritone made him a superbly effective (and underappreciated) pop crooner in the manner of his chief influence, Billy Eckstine. Prysock was born January 2, 1929, in Spartanburg, SC, and was the brother of saxophonist Red Prysock. As a teenager, he moved to Hartford, CT, where he worked in the aviation industry and sang with several small bands by night. He was discovered in 1944 by jump blues bandleader Buddy...
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Jazz 'Round Midnight: Arthur Prysock, Arthur Prysock
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