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Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Bessie Smith
     

Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Bessie Smith

by Bessie Smith
 
They called her the Empress of the Blues, and for good reason. Bessie Smith reigned as the leading female blues vocalist throughout the 1920s, during the music’s early popularity boom. With her majestic voice and superb interpretive skills, Smith took blues singing to new levels of artistry before her untimely death in 1937. This fine collection -- a terrific

Overview

They called her the Empress of the Blues, and for good reason. Bessie Smith reigned as the leading female blues vocalist throughout the 1920s, during the music’s early popularity boom. With her majestic voice and superb interpretive skills, Smith took blues singing to new levels of artistry before her untimely death in 1937. This fine collection -- a terrific introduction to this great performer’s work -- captures some of Smith’s most intense and spirited signature numbers, including “Back Water Blues,” “Me and My Gin,” “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair,” and “Careless Love,” among other representative performances. Smith was a major influence on nearly every great American vernacular singer, from Billie Holiday to Dinah Washington to Janis Joplin to Cassandra Wilson. A few moments listening to Smith at her best will explain why: Few singers in any genre have ever had the expressive powers and technical skills of this vocal icon.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
When filmmaker Ken Burns' multi-part documentary Jazz ran on PBS in 2001, Sony and Universal teamed up on a series of compilation albums of artists featured in the show, and sales were brisk. In 2003, film director Martin Scorsese served as executive producer of a series of films under the umbrella heading The Blues for PBS, and Sony and Universal launched a similar project with similar commercial hopes. Bessie Smith is an obvious choice for an inclusion in the series, and there's nothing wrong with the 15-track distillation of her record catalog released under the title Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues. If a blues neophyte, catching Smith on TV, goes out and buys this midline-priced compilation, that listener will hear some of Smith's best performances. But Smith was already well-represented in the record racks before this release. The Collection, released by Columbia/Legacy more than a decade earlier, was a 16-track best-of, and it was still in print at the same $11.98 list price on the day that Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues was released. The two-disc The Essential Bessie Smith from 1997, while considerably more expensive, was also in print and highly recommended. (This is not to mention the numerous European imports containing the same material, in inferior packaging and sound quality, but at even lower prices). So, if Columbia/Legacy sells a few more Smith records through this campaign, more power to it, but the disc upon release was actually redundant in terms of the artist's in-print discography.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2003
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0827969049327
catalogNumber:
90493

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bessie Smith   Primary Artist,Vocals
Buster Bailey   Clarinet
Chu Berry   Tenor Saxophone
Benny Goodman   Clarinet
James P. Johnson   Piano
Jack Teagarden   Trombone
Joe Williams   Trombone
Frankie Newton   Trumpet
Coleman Hawkins   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Ed Allen   Cornet
Louis Armstrong   Cornet
Bessemer Singers   Choir, Chorus
Garvin Bushell   Alto Saxophone
Lincoln Conaway   Guitar
Charlie Dixon   Banjo
Fletcher Henderson   Piano,Reed Organ
Porter Grainger   Guitar,Piano
Jimmy Harrison   Trombone
Fred Longshaw   Piano,Reed Organ
Joe "Fox" Smith   Cornet
Cyrus St. Clair   Tuba
Billy Taylor   Double Bass
Greely Walton   Tenor Saxophone
Buck Washington   Piano,Leader
Clarence Williams   Piano
Charlie Green   Trombone
Bob Escudero   Tuba
Billy Taylor   String Bass
Bobby Johnson   Guitar
Lincoln M. Conaway   Guitar
Joe Williams   Trombone
Joe Smith   Cornet

Technical Credits

Alberta Hunter   Composer
Bessie Smith   Composer
Percy Grainger   Composer
Perry Bradford   Composer
W.C. Handy   Composer
Steven Berkowitz   Producer
Andy Razaf   Composer
Lovie Austin   Composer
George Brooks   Composer
Tim Brymn   Composer
James Cox   Composer
Peter DeRose   Composer
Frank Driggs   Cover Photo,Tray Photo
Ulrich Felsburg   Executive Producer
Eddie Green   Composer
Martha E. Koenig   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Andy McKaie   Producer
Tom Piazza   Liner Notes
Jo Trent   Composer
Clarence Williams   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
Vartan   Art Direction
Harry Richman   Composer
Wesley Wilson   Composer
Christopher Austopchuk   Art Direction
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Martin Scorsese   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Margaret Bodde   Producer
Harry Burke   Composer
Pat Lawrence   Executive Producer
Robert Prince   Composer
Adam Owett   Art Direction
Paul "PDA" Allen   Executive Producer
Richard Hutton   Producer
Ellen Nygaard   Icon
Jody Patton   Executive Producer
Abe Vélez   Packaging Manager
Jeff Jones   Executive Producer
Jimmie Cox   Composer
H. Burke   Composer

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