Carmen McRae

Carmen for Cool Ones

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AllMusic Review by

Carmen McRae is in great form on these 1957 studio sessions with a jazz group and orchestra

conducted by Fred Katz. Her rich voice is never overpowered by the 13 strings, which for the most part stay behind the singer and the jazz instrumentalists. The strongest tracks include a swinging "All the Things You Are" (backed by some interesting writing for the reed section), an unusual treatment of "What's New" (featuring vibraphonist Larry Bunker and Joe Marino on celeste), a particularly dark version of "The Night We Called It a Day" (featuring Katz on cello), and a moving "I Remember Clifford," a fairly new piece which Benny Golson had recently composed following the tragic death of Clifford Brown. Even the obscure songs of these sessions, which include "A Shoulder to Cry On" and "Without a Word of Warning," are worth investigating. Unfortunately, only a few of these tracks have been reissued as a part of the compilation I'll Be Seeing You, though the Japanese division of Universal reissued this long out-of-print session in a beautifully packaged mini-LP-type sleeve in 2001.

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