Roland Hanna

I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues

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Although pianist Sir Roland Hanna gets first billing (since it is alphabetical), he shares this set with singer Carrie Smith. Together they interpret a dozen songs written by Harold Arlen; all well-known standards. Smith initially gained recognition for her ability to emulate Bessie Smith a bit, but on this date she is a lighter-toned swing singer whose subtle creativity uplifts the familiar songs. Hanna, on one of his final recordings, functions as both Smith's accompanist and as a full orchestra by himself. The duo's versions of such tunes as "When The Sun Comes Out," "Ill Wind," "Let's Fall In Love," "Blues In The Night," and "It's Only A Paper Moon" work quite well, sounding both respectful to the past and fairly fresh. The results are quite enjoyable.