Lorez Alexandria: Nature Boy

Early 60s tracks suggests that singer Alexandria, while recalling Sarah Vaughan, had her own style and was unfortunately rather overlooked

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Lorez Alexandria was one of the best and most neglected female vocalists in jazz during a fairly long career. She performed live and recorded throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s but never found the recognition and fame she deserved. Listening to her varied approach on a number of standard tunes on this release it is surprising that she was not appreciated more during her lifetime.

She recorded first in 1957 and this present disc dates from 1962. Her clear, straightahead treatment of Nature Boy kicks off the set. She swings No Moon At All, lightly caressing the lyric before Howard McGhee comes in with a short trumpet solo. She is particularly effective on slow ballad work, where her clear voice and storytelling style come into focus. A good example here is Spring Will Be A Little Late this Year.

She croons the lyric of Detour Ahead effectively as the rhythm section float along behind her. Her jazz phrasing and clear diction are evident here and on Travlin’ Light. That discreet but highly effective rhythm section, featuring Israel Crosby on bass and Vernell Fournier on drums, is an added bonus, as are the melodic trumpet interjections by McGhee.

Although Alexandria’s style was mostly her own, there were times when her vocals recalled Sarah Vaughan on ballads or well-worn standards. Overall, though hers was a special jazz talent that many people appear to have missed.

Discography
(1) Nature Boy; I Was A Fool; No Moon At All; Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year; Softly As In A Morning Sunrise; (2) Good Morning Heartache; So Long; (1) Detour Ahead; It Could Happen To You; Trav’lin Light; Almost Like Being In Love; I Want To Talk About You; (2) Baby Don’t You Cry; I’m Just A Lucky So And So (39.56)
(1) Alexandria (v); Howard McGhee (t); John Young (p); George Eskridge (elg); Israel Crosby (b); Vernell Fournier (d). Chicago, 13 & 14 February 1962.
(2) Ramsey Lewis combo. Chicago, January-February 1960.
Supper Club 004