Dori Howard/Janet Brace: Sings/Special Delivery

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Once again Jordi Pujol of Fresh Sound has come up with two really good jazz singers from the 1950s, surely long forgotten.

The first 12 tracks are from a Dot LP by Dori Howard released in 1959. She has a sultry voice, very well fitted to jazz expression and is accompanied on these selections by Don Elliott and a swinging rhythm team with Eddie Costa alternating on piano and vibes.

You could say this programme is just a good singer offering standard tunes with some of the best jazz and session men in the business. True, but it is the sheer quality of the singing and playing that hits the listener. Elliott is on top form on vibes, mellophone or trumpet and Ms Howard is right there, on the beat with a full and vibrant voice.

Then we come to Janet Brace. She was excellent, with a warm, vibrant voice and a natural feel for jazz singing. Slightly husky at times, she adapts her approach to each selection. Once again almost all her material consists of solid standards of the Great American Songbook variety but they are, of course, timeless and will be used as long as jazz exists as an art form.

She is particularly effective on Skylark, which she takes slowly but with feeling. Personal versions of Easy Street and It Could Happen To You swing along well, aided and abetted by flowing contributions from the likes of Elliott, Barry Galbraith on guitar and drummer Jimmy Campbell.

Both these singers are top quality and the insert card informs us that there are another four “unknown” female singers in the series, titled The Best Voices Time Forgot.

Listening to music like this makes me think Harold Macmillan wasn’t so far out when he said we never had it so good round about this time – not that I ever had him down as a jazz fan!

Discography
(1) The Moon Was Yellow; My One And Only Love; Here I Am In Love Again; I Get A Kick Out Of You; Lonely Love; Mean To Me; How Long Has This Been Going On; Duke’s Place; You’re Not Alone; Monday; Stop Look And Run; Mood Indigo (2) Time After Time; Skylark; That’s All; Time Was; S’posin’; You Forgot Your Gloves; Easy Street; It Could Happen To You; Nobody’s Heart; Happy In Love; If I Had A Ribbon Bow (58.29)
(1) Howard v); Don Elliott (mell, t, vib); Eddie Costa (p, vib, org); Mundell Lowe (elg); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson (d). NYC, September 1959.
(2) Brace (v); Don Elliott (mell, vib, t); Joe Puma (elg); Bob Corwin (p); Vinnie Burke or Ernie Furtado (b); Don McLean or Jimmy Campbell (d). NYC, February 1956.
Fresh Sound FSR V103