Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Carmen McRae - I Want You

I Want You
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 387

Here's the last of the Carmen McRae releases on the Mainstream MRL to be shared in the blogosphere. As usual with her MRL reissues, this one was compiled from various sources and tracks are culled from the same session used for Alfie [Mainstream S-6084] & Haven't We Met? [Mainstream 56044], except for #8 which is taken from Woman Talk Live at the Village Gate [Mainstream S-6065].

Despite the seemingly haphazard way Shad programmed the tracklists on the reissues, there is very little to no overlap when it comes to tunes and those who do not own the originals should find these to be new to their Carmen collection (again, that may depend on what other reissues you have on Sony's Legacy label, who bought Shad's Mainstream catalogue from his daughter in the 90s). No surprises here either way since the magical voice and introspective interpretive style that she made the cornerstone of her career are present in all their intimate glory.

However, as opposed to her stripped-down sessions she recorded live, the orchestration can get in the way once in a while, especially on the Peter Matz-produced tracks. Those overseen by Don Sebesky show the usual tasteful arrangements he was known for, ones Creed Taylor would regularly put to good use on his CTI imprint a few years later. At any rate, fans of this amazing vocalist will not be disappointed since she is never completely overshadowed by the string swells thanks to the strength of her voice, which was at its peak during the period these songs were waxed.

Highlights for me include the spine-tingling "Too Good," an excellent example of the lovelorn fatalist role she played so well, along with "And I Love Him," her restrained reversed-gender take on Lennon & McCartney's well-worn ballad which would have still been a relatively new tune at the time of recording. Special mention also goes to the opener, which leans a bit to the saccharine side but features Carmen playing with the tempo of her phrasing to create a layer of tension within the song's static time signature (a technique for which she was renown), highlighting her mastery of the craft and demonstrating the intensely personal individuality she brought to her repertoire.

1 The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
2 Too Good
3 Don't Ever Leave Me
4 Sweet Georgia Brown
5 And I Love Him
6 In Love in Vain
7 Fooling Myself
8 The Shadow of Your Smile
9 My Reverie
10 Winter in May

This time I was too lazy to split out the musicians from the different sessions but a quick trip over to the Carmen McRae Discography site will pay dividends to the uber-OCD trainspotters. For the rest of our readers, below is a list of all musicians from the three sessions who participated in these recordings.

Carmen McRae (v)
Ray Beckenstein (f)
Phil Bodner, Leon Cohen, Charlie Mariano, Stanley "Champ" Webb (f, af, pic, cl, as, ts, o)
Shelly Gold (f, af, cl, o)
John Bello, Burt Collins, Mel Davis, Bernie Glow, Jimmy Maxwell, Jimmy Nottingham (t)
Wayne Andre, John Messner, Charles Small, Bill Watrous, Chauncey Welch (tb)
Ray Alonge, Dick Berg, Jim Buffington, Earl Chapin (frh)
Don Butterfield (tu)
Paul Faulise, Tony Studd (bt)
Barry Galbraith (g, elg)
Joe Puma (g)
Paul Breslin, Aaron Davis, Richard Davis, Victor Sproles (b)
Norman Simmons (p)
Eugene Bianco, Margaret Ross (hrp)
Archie Freedman, Mel Lewis, Frank Severino, Ed Shaughnessy (d)
Jose Mangual (bo)
Doug Allan, George Devens, Phil Kraus (per)

Adriana Broone, Fred Buldrini, Peter Buonconsiglio, Max Cahn, Norman Carr, Bernard Eichen, Arnold Eidus, Leo Kruczek, Walter Legawiec, Charles Libove, Carmel Malin, Joe Malin, Marvin Morganstern, David Nadien, George Ockner, Gene Orloff, George Polikian, Raoul Polikian, Max Pollikoff, Aaron Rosand, Tosha Samaroff, Michael Spivakowsky, Jack Zayde (vn), Al Brown, Harold Furmansky, David Mankowitz, Emanuel Vardi (vl)
Maurice Brown, Alla Goldberg, Charles McCracken, George Ricci, Harvey Shapiro, A. Sophos (cll)

If you want Carmen as much as she wants you, get her from Soundological HERE or HERE.