Ballad Essentials

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
In 1999, Concord Jazz launched its Ballad Essentials series with this superb Carmen McRae collection, which spans 1980-1987. The influential singer recorded for Concord on four occasions; after teaming up with George Shearing for 1980's Two for the Road and joining forces with Cal Tjader on 1982's Heat Wave, McRae paid tribute to Nat "King" Cole on 1983's You're Lookin' at Me and visited Long Beach, CA, for 1987's excellent Fine and Mellow: Live at Birdland West. The only track that's out of place on this CD is "Fine and Mellow," which is a 12-bar blues instead of a ballad. True, McRae is captivating and inspired on this Billie Holiday classic, one of the highlights of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
In 1999, Concord Jazz launched its Ballad Essentials series with this superb Carmen McRae collection, which spans 1980-1987. The influential singer recorded for Concord on four occasions; after teaming up with George Shearing for 1980's Two for the Road and joining forces with Cal Tjader on 1982's Heat Wave, McRae paid tribute to Nat "King" Cole on 1983's You're Lookin' at Me and visited Long Beach, CA, for 1987's excellent Fine and Mellow: Live at Birdland West. The only track that's out of place on this CD is "Fine and Mellow," which is a 12-bar blues instead of a ballad. True, McRae is captivating and inspired on this Billie Holiday classic, one of the highlights of Birdland West, but this is supposed to be a collection of ballads, not a blues collection. The rest of the CD, however, demonstrates just how stunning a ballad singer McRae could be. This is true whether she's joining Tjader's band on "Besame Mucho," saluting Cole on "You're Looking at Me," performing for the Birdland West audience on "These Foolish Things," or doing a vocals/piano duet with Shearing on "More Than You Know," "If I Should Lose You," and "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You." It's regrettable that Concord disrupted the CD's ambience by including a blues performance -- albeit an impressive one -- but even so, Ballad Essentials is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who cherishes intimate, smoky jazz singing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/26/1999
  • Label: Concord Records
  • UPC: 013431487722
  • Catalog Number: 4877
  • Sales rank: 121,604

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Carmen McRae Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Vocals
Red Holloway Tenor Saxophone
George Shearing Piano
Paul Humphrey Drums
Phil Upchurch Guitar
Donald Bailey Drums
Ramon Banda Bongos, Bells
John Clayton Bass
John Collins Guitar
Vince Lateano Drums
John Leftwich Bass
Jack McDuff Hammond Organ
Marshall Otwell Piano
Poncho Sanchez Conga
Cal Tjader Vibes
Technical Credits
John Burk Executive Producer
George Horn Mastering
Ralph Rainger Composer
Leo Robin Composer
Scott Yanow Liner Notes
Ray Avery Cover Photo
Glen Barros Executive Producer
Darren Wong Art Direction
Rupert Wates Composer
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