Ernestine Anderson: Little Girl Blue

Aged 12, Anderson avoided the disaster of choosing the wrong key at a talent contest by improvising around the melody. A jazz singer was born

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Born in 1928, Anderson had a career spanning five decades and producing more than 30 albums. She had a way of adapting to the mood of every song she sang, well demonstrated in this collection of 16 short tracks.

Winning a talent contest at age 12, she told the pianist she sang songs in C when he asked – but it was the wrong key for her. She covered by singing around the melody and improvising and when she finished one of the musicians told her she was a jazz singer.

Her break came in 1955 when she sang Social Call on a Gigi Gryce album for Savoy Records. That track is included on this selection. She sings it straight in a polished, swinging manner, well supported by an all-star line up including Art Farmer, Eddie Bert and Julius Watkins.

Most of these tracks were recorded with various line-ups in Sweden when she went on a three-month tour with trumpeter Rolf Ericson. Ernestine sounds just as happy with a trio, small combo or big band and there are examples of all three line-ups on this album.

Highlights of an enjoyable vocal recital are three tracks recorded in 1960 with a band featuring Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Frank Rehak and Yusef Lateef. Rehak’s obbligato trombone fills behind Ernestine on I’ll Never Be The Same are very effective and vocal enhancing. Other gems are a heartfelt reading of Coward’s Mad About The Boy and Ernestine’s vocal on Moonlight In Vermont with the big band. This is a well-recorded limited edition of just 650 copies so don’t hang about if you want it.

Discography
Little Girl Blue; That Old Feeling; Looking For A Boy; I’ll Never Be The Same; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; Day- Dreams; Ill Wind; The Song Is Ended; Supper Time; Mad About The Boy; Moonlight In Vermont; Our Love Is Here To Stay; You Go To My Head; Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart; Social Call; They Didn’t Believe Me (46.12)
Anderson (v) with various combos including Art Farmer, Clark Terry (t); Julius Watkins (frh); Horace Silver(p); Oscar Pettiford (b); Art Blakey (d) and big bands. NYC & Sweden, 1955 & 1960.
Supper Club 017