Most of Mildred Bailey's recordings have been reissued, but this CD is particularly special. With the exception of the final four songs, all of the music was originally out on fairly rare V-discs, making this a strong addition to swing and vocal jazz fans' collections. Bailey was one of the most distinctive singers of the 1930s and '40s and she was at the peak of her powers during the World War II years. Particularly worthy are the first four selections (including an extended version of "Rockin' Chair") in which she is accompanied by pianist Teddy Wilson. "Squeeze Me" is taken from the Esquire All-American concert of 1944. There are three songs in which Bailey is joined by a sextet led by her husband vibraphonist Red Norvo (clarinetist Aaron Sachs is in good form), ten songs on which Bailey is accompanied by Paul Baron's orchestra, a heated version of "Dinah" with Wilson and trumpeter Charlie Shavers, and the final studio date with a nonet. In addition to the first version of "Rockin' Chair," other highlights include "Sunday, Monday or Always," "More Than You Know," "Downhearted Blues," "From the Land of the Sky Blue Water," and "I'm Glad There Is You." Recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow