Annie Ross: Sings A Song With Mulligan!

The Surrey-born, US-immigrant singer makes a set of torch songs her own, aided by Mulligan, Chet Baker, Art Farmer and others


In December 1957 Richard Bock arrived in New York to supervise a marathon series of recordings featuring Gerry Mulligan in a variety of settings for Pacific Jazz. Over a period of two weeks there was a reunion with Chet Baker, a set with Vinnie Burke’s String Quartet (unissued until 2006 when it was released with all the December 1957 material on Mosaic Select MS-021), a session with an all-star saxophone section and this collaboration with Annie Ross.

Annie Ross had just helped launch Lambert, Hendricks & Ross with their hit recording of Sing A Song Of Basie and as Dave Bailey told me years later, “The Mulligan session was a fun date when Annie was in her prime.”

Some of the titles were recorded in the same studio and on the same day as the Chet Baker date although he disappeared halfway through the recording. “Chet just went to the bathroom and never came back. That’s why we had to get Art Farmer” Ross recalled later. Tom Lord’s discography reveals that 11 titles were recorded on the first two dates and Baker is missing-in-action on four of them.

The delightful Ms Ross thrives in the sympathetic settings provided by Mulligan’s men on a superior set of torch songs she makes all her own – This Is Always, My Old Flame, This Time The Dream’s On Me and Let There Be Love. They contrast most effectively with the uptempo swingers where she really lets her hair down – I Feel Pretty, All Of You, and It Don’t Mean A Thing. This vinyl reissue also contains four bonus tracks.

The last word should be the leader’s. He once told me “The Annie Ross date was Dick Bock’s idea. We hadn’t worked together before (but) I liked her and the album came out well.”

(1) I Feel Pretty; (2) How About You?; (1) I’ve Grown Accustomed To His Face; This Time The Dream’s On Me; (2) Let There Be Love; Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; (3) Don’t Worry ’Bout Me; The Lady’s In Love With You; (1) All Of You; Give Me The Simple Life; This Is Always; (2) Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; It Don’t Mean A Thing; (4) The Way You Look Tonight; I Love Paris (41.17)
Ross (v) with:
(1) Art Farmer (t); Gerry Mulligan (bar); Bill Crow (b); Dave Bailey (d). Los Angeles, 25 September 1958.
(2) as (1) Chet Baker (t) replaces Farmer; Henry Grimes (b) replaces Crow. NYC, 11 & 17 December 1957.
(3) Bob Burns (cl); Tony Crombie (p); Roy Plummer (b); Lennie Bush (d). London, 27 August 1956.
(4) Milt Jackson (vib); Blossom Dearie (p); Percy Heath (b); Kenny Clarke (d). Paris, 1 April 1952.
Supper Club 021