Carmen Bradford

With Respect

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Carmen Bradford is a belter, a singer not afraid to show off her emotions or to occasionally go over the top. She toured with Count Basie's Orchestra for nine years but somehow never achieved much fame, only recording on a very irregular basis as a singer despite her strong musicality and powerful pipes. This set is a fine all-around showcase, featuring her with a variety of small groups including ensembles with either Cedar Walton or Donald Brown on piano. Among the other prominent players are vibraphonist Steve Nelson, guitarist Dori Caymmi, saxophonist Charles Owens, and (on a closing duet version of "Nature Boy") guitarist Michael O'Neill. Although it probably was not the best idea to perform "You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)" (since Ella owns it), Bradford sounds particularly strong on the more recent and obscure material, including Chick Corea's "High Wire," Cedar Walton's "Even Steven," and Red Mitchell's "Finally." Since she has not recorded all that often since this period, With Respect is still Carmen Bradford's definitive recording.

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