Ellis Larkins

Perfume and Rain

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Ellis Larkins was somewhat overshadowed since he was better known as a sterling accompanist for singers like Ella Fitzgerald or Joe Williams, as well as with instrumentalists such as Coleman Hawkins or Ruby Braff. But this rare solo date, recorded for George Wein's Storyville label in 1954, is an ear-opening experience. There's no missing his imaginative arrangements of standards such as "By Myself," "Moon Glow," and "Glad to Be Unhappy." But his approach to lesser-known works like "How'd You Like to Love Me" and "Perfidia" also swing in his elegant style. Larkins adds an original of his own to close the disc, the lush ballad "Perfume and Rain." This is a rather brief disc (evidently issued originally as a 10" album), clocking in at less than 23 minutes. Reissued by Black Lion and later on CD by Tokuma in Japan, this release will likely be somewhat expensive to acquire.

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