Four Classic Albums Plus
Although most of her best performances came in tandem with Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert, Annie Ross recorded a lot of quality material on her own, and most of it is right here. A collection of her (mostly) solo material from the '50s, Four Classic Albums finds Ross close to the height of her vocal powers, with excellent interpretive skills and a quickly shifting tone (sometimes caressing, other times catty). The two highlights of these classic albums are Gypsy, her run-through of the classic musical, and Sings a Song with Mulligan!, her duet album with Gerry Mulligan that ranks as one of the finest jazz vocalist/instrumentalist pairings ever (and thereby, one of the best vocal albums of all time). "I Feel Pretty" is impossibly spry and bouncy, with both Ross and Mulligan showing off their musical dexterity, playing off each other's notes with kittenish glee. Most of the rest of the material is of the torch song variety, which Ross does quite well, although the sound is a little compressed (usually the fault of the original source material, no knock on the Avid label). Rounding up a few stray EPs and bonus tracks, this is a great way to accumulate most of Ross' best solo work.