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Helen Merrill / Helen Sings, Teddy Swings

Helen Merrill / Helen Sings, Teddy Swings

by Hajime 16. January 2007 02:46


New arrival at Eastwind Import: Helen Merrill / Helen Sings, Teddy Swings

Helen Merrill is one of my favorite jazz singers. She has that smokey, sometimes otherworldly voice that is instantly recognizable. Many of you probably know her eponymous debut album recorded iwith Clifford Brown n 1954 for Mercury. Merrill has a big following in Japan, and she has a good reason: she used to live there for about five years!

This album was recorded in 1970 when Helen Merrill was living in Japan. The "king of swing piano" Teddy Wilson was visiting Japan for his first tour ever, and a quick thinking on the part of producers at Japan Victor made this fortuitous recording possible.

The pairing of traditionalist Teddy Wilson and Helen Merrill, who was also doing some daring and experimental music at the time, was a truly unique opportunity, and the result is beautiful: a warm, relaxed and tasteful performance of great American Songbook standards.

Merrill and Wilson "borrowed" the rhythm section of the Thelonious Monk Quartet, which was also in Japan at the same time. On one of the dates, Monk himself came to the studio with his wife and watched the recording. Can you imagine that?

This legendary record was made available as CD for the first time in 2006. Digitally remastered with JVC's "20 bit K2 super coding," the sound quality is quite impressive, too. If you are a fan of Helen Merrill, this rare CD should definately be in your collection! Well, let me rephrase that: If you are a fan of good jazz singing, you'll love this CD. It will bring you joy, warmth and smile. Enjoy it with a warm drink and perhaps fire in the fireplace.

If you are interested, please visit www.eastwindimport.com.

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