Carol Sloane

Whisper Sweet

HighNote HCD 7113

Carol Sloane, vocals; Norman Simmons, piano; Paul Bollenback, guitar; Paul West, bass; Grady Tate, drums; Houston Person, tenor saxophone

There's a coincidence. I was just listening to an earlier Carol Sloane when the postman brought this one. If there is anybody out there who knows nothing about the lady in question, get hip. This is one truly wonderful singer. The band backing Ms Sloane comprises some of the best and long-standing great musicians still available to us. Tate and Simmons alone crop up throughout practically all of Jazz history. Bollenback has already led his own groups, notably with Joey DeFrancesco, and I traced West back at least as far as a Gillespie date in 1957 ­ in other words a bunch of pros. I have often contended that a list of titles should be available with every review, and this list is impossible to resist. Here's That Rainy Day, Memories of You, The Lady's In Love With You, It's Easy To Remember, Where Or When, More Than You Know, This Time The Dream's On Me, My One And Only Love, Whisper Sweet, The Night We Called it A Day, You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me ­ in other words, simply the best. Yours truly has loved these numbers for years, and here at last is a version of "My One And Only Love" that knocks all others out of the game. Not that the rest don't come up to scratch. "Here's That Rainy Day" gets a straight reading and is presented beautifully. There are a few, perhaps unintended, references to other performances. We hear material done by Shirley Horne (with Houston Person giving Ms Sloane the gutsy tenor support as given to Ms Horn by Buck Hill). There are reminiscences of Annie Ross, too. Ms Sloane's rendition of "This Time The Dream's On Me", however, is taken a slower tempo and is not the slightest less effective (Simmons is beautiful here) than the Ross classic with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. And catch Ms Sloane bouncing on the rhythm on "You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me." Somebody should march waving banners on behalf of this CD. It must be one of the vocal highlights of this year. Don't miss it whatever you do.

by Lawrence Brazier

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