Volume Six in Mildred Bailey's Classics chronology is truly a mixed bag of recordings cut for Vocalion and Columbia between June 27, 1939 and January 25, 1940, with two initially rejected items from September 1938 tacked on like a couple of lost cabooses. The first four tracks feature the John Kirby Sextet-plus-Red Norvo combination that worked so well earlier in the year (see Mildred Bailey's previous volume on Classics). The first three in a series of titles associated with the tradition of American Negro Spirituals find Mildred Bailey collaborating with a vocal group known as the Charioteers. This is one of several sessions heard on this compilation that took place under the direction of composer and arranger Alec Wilder, using 'chamber' instrumentalists like that master of the oboe and Cor anglais, Mitch Miller. This kind of production worked best when Bailey's voice was able to wrap itself around truly wonderful lyrics and melodies like "All the Things You Are," "Easy to Love" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Jazz-wise, in addition to the aforementioned John Kirby tracks, the hippest recordings here are "Blue Rain" and "I Shoulda Stood In Bed" waxed on November 3, 1939 in the company of saxophonist Ben Webster and pianist Teddy Wilson. Although Mildred Bailey's duet with Roy Eldridge on "Wham" sounds a bit self-conscious, she manages quite well with that famous exercise in Yiddish hep talk, "A Bee Gezindt."
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Alec Wilder