Lee Wiley

Manhattan Nights: The Complete Golden Years Studio Sessions

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Lee Wiley's 20-year romance with the American songbook is one of the great love affairs of popular song, equalled during her time only by Ella Fitzgerald. But while Fitzgerald was blessed with the close attention of Norman Granz and a host of great arrangers, Wiley created the concept of the vocal classicist virtually out of thin air, concentrating on six of the best pop composers of the century during her prime of 1931 to 1951. The Dutch label Definitive certainly earned the right to the name with its release of the four-disc box Manhattan Nights: The Complete Golden Years Studio Sessions, chronologically compiling all of Wiley's studio recordings during the first 20 years of her career (her other original commercial releases would barely have filled a fifth disc). From her debut with Leo Reisman singing "Take It From Me (I'm Taking It From You)," she stood alone -- a mature, knowing, beguiling vocalist during an era when cute and boyish was the norm. The songbook recordings are grouped together -- usually eight selections each, from Gershwin, Rodgers-Hart, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Vincent Youmans, Irving Berlin -- as is 1951's Night in Manhattan, the latter as masterful an evocation of its intended time and place as any other vocal-jazz collection ever recorded. Sweetening the pot, the compilers added five unreleased tracks, including three private, piano-backed recordings from Wiley's breakout year of 1939.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Leo Reisman
3:50
2 3:19
3 3:15
4 2:59
5 2:19
6 2:09
7 3:08
8 2:48
9
feat: Victor Young
3:09
10
feat: Glen Gray
3:09
11
feat: Johnny Green
3:09
12
feat: Johnny Green
3:08
13 3:15
14 3:18
15 3:01
16 3:00
17 3:58
18 4:18
19 2:54
20 3:31
21 3:28
22 3:15

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:46
2 2:52
3 2:40
4 2:53
5 3:23
6 2:59
7 3:17
8 2:52
9 3:03
10 3:07
11 3:13
12 3:12
13 3:13
14 3:06
15 2:54
16 3:11
17 2:38
18 2:41
19 2:24
20 2:14
21 3:17
22 2:56
23 2:51
24 2:47

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:28
2 3:28
3 3:19
4 3:11
5 2:54
6 2:50
7 3:16
8 3:33
9 3:10
10 2:28
11 2:36
12 3:14
13 3:14
14 2:35
15 2:18
16 2:12
17 3:04
18 3:15
19 2:33
20 3:01
21 2:23
22 2:58
23 2:28
24 2:41
blue highlight denotes track pick