Album Details

Vocal Music, Post-Bop, Cool, Standards, Vocal Jazz

Album Review

This Mosaic compilation pairs two long unavailable sessions for Milestone by vocalist Helen Merrill with pianist Dick Katz, both of which are magical meetings. Merrill is just like another one of the instrumentalists on each date, improvising and conveying her emotions without overdoing it. The first nine selections are from the 1965 LP The Feeling Is Mutual, with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Ron Carter, cornetist Thad Jones, and either Pete La Roca or Arnie Wise on drums. Most of the initial album focuses on standards, highlighted by a poignant take of "Here's That Rainy Day" and a subtle arrangement of Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain." In addition to familiar songs, the musicians tackled Alec Wilder's bittersweet ballad "The Winter of My Discontent" and Hoagy Carmichael's loping "Baltimore Oriole," both of which were new to all of them, with Merrill and company delivering effective interpretations. Songs from A Shade of Difference feature similar personnel, adding flautist Hubert Laws, while alto saxophonist Gary Bartz appears on Ornette Coleman's dissonant"Lonely Woman," with Richard Davis and Elvin Jones subbing in the rhythm section. Merrill's cool, bluesy interpretation of "I Want a Little Boy" contrasts with her breezy performance of "Never Will I Marry." An oddity: Marian McPartland mentions "Looking for a Boy" in her liner notes, though that song is nowhere to be found in this compilation. Perhaps the song was omitted for time reasons, but there is no explanation in the CD credits.
Ken Dryden, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. You're My Thrill
  2. It Don't Mean a Thing
  3. Here's That Rainy Day
  4. Baltimore Oriole
  5. Don't Explain
  6. What Is This Thing Called Love?
  7. The Winter of My Discontent
  8. Day Dream
  9. Deep in a Dream
  10. I Want a Little Boy
  11. I Should Care
  12. Never Will I Marry
  13. Where Do You Go?
  14. Lonely Woman
  15. While We're Young
  16. A Lady Must Live
  17. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
  18. Lover Come Back to Me
  19. My Funny Valentine