Helen Merrill

Chasin' the Bird (Gershwin)

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The third collaboration between singer Helen Merrill and pianist/arranger Dick Katz is almost at the level of their first two. A tribute both to George Gershwin and Charlie Parker, Merrill performs eight of the former's songs, a couple of which became Bird tunes with new melody lines ("Embraceable You" is transformed into "Quasimodo," while "I Got Rhythm" becomes "Chasin' the Bird"). Baritonist Pepper Adams, guitarist Joe Puma, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Mel Lewis join Katz in the quintet, and throughout, Merrill is heard in prime form. Pity that this worthwhile LP has not been more popular.

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