Dick Williams

Sing for Big People

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Arguably the flat-out strangest LP ever issued under the Chess aegis, "Dick Williams"' Kids Sing for Big People (And Little People, Too) pairs the arranger with a children's vocal group to tackle some of the most venerable standards in jazz history. Consider your reaction to the previous sentence a fair barometer of how you'll react to the album itself -- there's an obvious kitsch appeal to a project of this ilk, but there's also something unsettling about kids interpreting lyrics like "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "The Nearness of You" with no earthly concept of the meaning and impact of the emotions the songs delineate. Williams' playful, effervescent arrangements are clever enough on their own terms, but to reiterate: these are pre-pubescent kids singing jazz. That sound you hear isn't the record rotating on the turntable -- it's Billie Holiday spinning in her grave.

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