Teri Thornton

Devil May Care

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

This is the first (of three) long out of print recordings by Teri Thornton, finally available to the general public. It would not be a stretch to say she is perhaps the most talented, distinctive, clean, out-of-sight singer listeners have never heard....until now. Thornton's powerful, almost chilling voice compares favorably to the pristine tones and vibrato of Sarah Vaughan, the blues sassiness of Dinah Washington, and some of the more soulful refrains of Abbey Lincoln. Simply put, you have to hear her once to believe her. Whether on doleful ballads or raucous swingers, Thornton is totally confident and in control -- of her emotions and yours. From the best version of the Bob Dorough-written title track you are likely to hear, to the regretful ballad "My Old Flame" or the ultimate heart-melter "Left Alone," to an interesting arrangement on a pleading "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?," Thornton charges through the bar lines. Check her forcefulness on "Dancing in the Dark" and "I Feel a Song Coming On." Sometimes she purposefully staggers behind measures to grand effect. Every track is a showstopper, thanks to her uniquely soulful, drama-laden approach. Potent, unobtrusive horn charts feature legends like trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Britt Woodman, and saxophonists Earle Warren and Seldon Powell. The rhythm section of guitarist Freddie Green (half the tracks, Sam Herman on the others), pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Jimmy Cobb can do no wrong. Arranger par excellence Norman Simmons provided the perfect charts. This is an important document of a truly great jazz singer, and is essential in the collection of every serious aficionado. The only one regret is that it can't be given several handfuls of *****.

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