Helen Merrill

A Shade of Difference

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    9
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Originally put out by the Milestone label and later reissued by Landmark, this is a superior and consistently surprising effort by singer Helen Merrill. With arrangements provided by pianist Dick Katz and adventurous yet sympathetic playing by Thad Jones on flugelhorn and cornet, flutist Hubert Laws, altoist Gary Bartz (who is only on Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman"), Katz, guitarist Jim Hall, either Ron Carter or Richard Davis, on bass and drummer Elvin Jones, this is a particularly strong jazz vocal date. Merrill's voice was at its prime during the era, and her ability to tackle a wide repertoire and to bring new life to standards (including taking "My Funny Valentine" as a fairly free duet with Ron Carter) makes this a highly recommended effort.

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