Renée Raff: Among The Stars / Pat Dahl: We Dig Pat Dahl

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This is another in Jordi Pujol’s intriguing series The Best Voices That Time Forgot, devoted to forgotten singers.

South Africa born Renée Raff benefits from arranger Billy Byers’s superior arrangements on a selection of six standards together with six originals. She had a musical background that included piano and voice training at London’s Royal College Of Music followed by studies at the Julliard School Of Music with John Mehegan who was a friend of Leonard Bernstein.

Ms Raff’s clear diction and intimate delivery recall both Julie London and June Christy at times especially on Let There Be Love, Among The Stars, Mad About The Boy and April’s Fool. There are very few solo opportunities for the stellar ensemble but Buddy Collette has a brief flute outing on Starting Tomorrow and J.J. Johnson’s elegant trombone is heard on Gerry Mulligan’s Butterfly With Hiccups.

Pat Dahl, who studied at London’s Arts Education School, appeared in Jerry Lewis’s 1961 film The Errand Boy. She once enjoyed top billing at the London Palladium and appeared on several TV shows including her own TV series. Just like Ms Raff, this was her only album. It boasts charts by a veritable who’s-who of top Los Angeles arrangers such as Billy May, Lyn Murray, Marty Paich and Shorty Rogers.

Her pronounced vibrato and dramatic approach occasionally brings the great Lena Horne to mind on Stout Hearted Men, It’s Alright, What Now My Love and especially I Who Have Nothing. Ballads like Ten Cents A Dance, Someone To Watch Over Me and Benny Carter’s Lonely Woman are sensitively handled.

Discography
(1) [Renée Raff – Among The Stars] Starting Tomorrow; Let There Be Love; In The Interim; Willow Weep For Me; Jan Pieewiet; Please Don’t Leave Me, Among The Stars; He Lied; Mad About The Boy; April’s Fool; Little Girl Blue; Butterfly With Hiccups; (2) [Pat Dahl – We Dig Pat Dahl] Stout Hearted Men; I’m In Love With The Honourable Mr. So & So; It’s Alright With Me; I Who Have Nothing; On The Good Ship Lollipop; There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool; Oh Johnny; What Now My Love; Ten Cents A Dance; Show Me; Lonely Woman; Someone To Watch Over Me (67.20)
(1) Raff (v); J.J. Johnson (tb); Jerome Richardson (ts, f); Don Elliott (vib); Hank Jones (p); Barry Galbraith (elg); Milt Hinton, Ernie Furtado (b); Ronnie Bedford (d). NYC, 1963.
(2) Pat Dahl (v); Harry Edison (t); Buddy Collette (reeds); Don Abney (p); John Gray (elg); Shelly Manne (d). Los Angeles, 1966.
Fresh Sound Records FSR V122