Three types of creative authority that each spring from the same muse characterize this disc. First is the vocal authority of Carrie Smith. Second is the piano talent of the late Sir Roland Hanna. And finally, third is the lyric prowess of Harold Arlen.
A blues singer with a jazz singer's soul, Carrie Smith's conversational style and masculine sense of humor are a commanding presence on I've Got A Right. No better is this illustrated than on "Blues in the Night," where she injects the urban Arlen/Sinatra standard with the earthy element of Bessie Smith's "A Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer" to produce a song that is uniquely Carrie Smith. "Accentuate the Positive" is the sung like the Revelator's wail and "Stormy Weather" a plaintive, angry ballad. Ms. Smith is a consummate singer in this genre, lending the music and lyrics an authenticity of the blues.
The late Sir Roland Hanna was a pianist’s pianist. A superb accompanist, he supported the likes of Ruth Brown and Sarah Vaughan. His playing behind a vocalist always surprises with his choice of notes and harmony, as well as rhythm and time. He is talented enough to use his generous sense of humor in his playing without ever sounding trite or inappropriate. He never overshadows her, remaining her equal on the floor throughout.
Finally, composer Harold Arlen has provided the American Songbook with some of its most enduring songs. As an introduction to Arlen’s music, one could not ask for more than what's on this disc. I've Got A Right, along with Hanna’s Everything I Love , serves as a fitting tribute to the pianist.
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This and all pieces published in December 2003 are dedicated to my late father, Norman L. Bailey (1915-2003).