Born Under A Wand'rin' Star
is jazz vocalist Mary Ann Hurst's third go-around and she remains a star waiting to be discovered. The constants that are evident in all her efforts are a quality presentation of the Great American Songbook and her always being surrounded by fine musicians.
Hurst opens Born Under A Wand'rin' Star with a polite samba version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "It Might As Well Be Spring," assisted by the nimble and simpatico Rick Stone on guitar. Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been In Love Before" is taken at a nice, relaxed mid-tempo pace, as is the shopworn Gershwin classic "They Can't Take That Away From Me," with pianist Dick Goodwin providing the winning solos.
The material gets even better on the second half of the album. A charming medley of Kahn/Donaldson classic, "Carolina in the Morning," segues into the Disney musical hit "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from the 1946 film The Song of the South, making it a thematic fit, though the old Carolina Rice jingle (..."I come from Carolina, so pardon my drawl...") wouldn't have been turned down.
The Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne oldie, "The Things We Did Last Summer," has been pretty well dissected by femme vocalists, but Hurst's version is right up there with early Nancy Wilson's on pianist George Shearing's The Swingin's Mutual (Capitol, 1961).
The revival of the Ella Mae Morse-associated "Cow Cow Boogie" also dusts off another forgotten tune, with Hurst joined by Goodwin, who scats and picks up a trumpet for this number. Hurst borrows two songs from the Lerner & Loewe score to the 1969 film Paint Your Wagon, including the relatively untouched title tune (sung by Clint Eastwood in the film) and "I Talk to the Trees."
Born Under A Wand'rin' Star is yet another fine package by this unappreciated vocalist and her well matched combo.
Personnel: Mary Ann Hurst: vocals; Rick Stone: guitar; Dick Goodwin: piano, trumpet, scat; Reggie Sullivan: bass; Jim Hall: drums.