Helen Merrill

Brownie: Homage to Clifford Brown

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

40 years after recording a classic album with trumpeter Clifford Brown, singer Helen Merrill paid tribute to the late Brownie, who died tragically in 1956. Utilizing on various tracks trumpeters Tom Harrell, Wallace Roney, Roy Hargrove and Lew Soloff, as well as pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Victor Lewis, Merrill performs a variety of tunes, most of which were associated with Brown. There are plenty of unexpected surprises on the date, including passages where the trumpet ensemble performs parts of Brownie's original solos; also noteworthy are Harrell's unaccompanied flugelhorn version of "Joy Spring," Barron's solo piano rendition of "Memories of You" and touching moments like "I'll Be Seeing You," "I Remember Clifford" and "Gone With the Wind." Producer Torrie Zito sometimes adds some atmospheric and effective synthesizer, and in addition to the standards, Zito contributed a new original, "Brownie." Throughout the often emotional date, Helen Merrill is heard in top form, giving plenty of feeling to the lyrics while leaving room for the guest trumpeters. Recommended.

blue highlight denotes track pick