Here’s another two-LP collection of music in Fresh Sound’s fine Best Voices Time Forgot series. The first 12 tracks are from Beverly Kelly’s 1957 album made for a company called Audio Fidelity that specialised in early high-fidelity stereo recordings. It certainly sounds good with the aid of today’s digital mastering and Ms Kelly’s voice comes though clear as a bell, emphasising her exceptional tone and phrasing.
She is particularly impressive on slow, sad ballads and really puts a wealth of feeling and a tinge of real melancholy into her version of You Don’t Know What Love Is. I Wish I Knew is also delivered with much pathos in her distinctive voice. She also swings easily on pieces like I Get A Kick and the bouncing You And The Night.
Kelly is supported by the Pat Moran trio which has Scott LaFaro on bass on what would have been one of his earliest record dates. Although she qualifies as a “best that time forgot” she did make a comeback of sorts in the 1960s, recording two LPs for Riverside and working with Pony Poindexter.
Almost completely forgotten now, Dolores Hawkins made her LP for Epic Records in 1956. She had a very strong voice and judging by the delivery of these tracks, a strong personality. She is very impressive here with her personal versions of Lover Man and Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.
Her collection includes crisp interpretations of lesser known compositions like Dream Of You and Goodnight My Love. She gives a warm reading to I’m In The Mood and is well supported by the Hank Jones quartet with Milt Hinton and Osie Johnson. Some tracks feature soft-focus trumpet by Ruby Braff in mainstream mode and a tenor sax/flute player that Epic failed to identify.
These are high quality jazz-vocal albums, and rock & roll has a lot to answer for in being partially responsible for helping kill music like this.
(1) Lover Come Back To Me; The Man I Love; You Don’t Know What Love Is; I Wish I Knew; I Get A Kick Out Of You; I’m Glad There Is You; Sometimes I’m Happy; This Love Of Mine; But Not For Me; Embraceable You; You And The Night And The Music; Spring Is Here; (2) I’ve Got My Eyes On You; Lover Man; Dream Of You; I’m In The Mood For Love; You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; No Love No Nothin’; Baby Won’t You Please Come Home; The Man I Love; Just Squeeze Me; Good Lovin’; I Must Have That Man; Goodnight My Love (72.56)
(1) Kelly (v); Scott LaFaro (b); Pat Moran (p); Johnny Whited (d). Chicago, 1957.
(2) Hawkins (v); with the Hank Jones quartet and Ruby Braff (t). NYC, 1956.
Fresh Sound FSR V106