Rita Moss: Queen Moss 1951-1959


“Yma Sumac has a rival in cute Rita Moss”, giggled Jet Magazine in 1952. “She is due for a bigtime treatment”. Although Miss Moss seemed to have lived to 97, it looks like she never got it. Apart from being given the odd piano lesson, she taught herself to play and seems to have been a pretty good jazz pianist, as well as being eloquent, as shown here, on organ and bongos. But the thing that should have kicked her into the bigtime was her four-octave voice. Yma Sumac’s vocal range was greater but vied with Victor Sylvester in its lack of jazz content.

Tracks 3 to 8 have her accompanied by the likes of Buck Clayton, Kai Winding, Boomie Richman, Al Klink. Art Ryerson, George Barnes and Don Lamond. They are all rendered totally anonymous in the background, except for Buck Clayton who emerges on Love Me Or Please Let Me Be for the most unambitious improvisation I’ve ever heard from him. On the final 15 tracks Miss Moss accompanies herself on piano, organ and conga through the medium of multi-dubbing.

She sings her songs attractively and is sure-footed about everything she does. She has a light voice and chooses her material well. There are strong echoes of Sarah Vaughan in her phrasing and she should take her rightful place in the second or third rank of jazz vocalists.

I Never Was So Surprised; I’ll Be Waiting For You; Darlin’; Love Me Or Please Let Me Be; You Never Had It So Good; When Day Is Done; Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe; Memories Of You; Jungle Drums; 100 Years From Today; This Can’t Be Love; Did I Remember?; Take The A Train; I Got It Bad; Bopligatto; Exactly Like You; My Romance; I Only Have Eyes For You; Love Is Here To Stay; Blue Room; I Should Know; My Old Kentucky Home; Daydream (77.05)
Moss (v) and various accompaniments.
Fresh Sound FSR-CD 983