Teddi King: In the Beginning, 1949~1954
This compilation of Teddi King performances is clearly a labor of love for Ted Ono and Baldwin Street Music. King, if not yet achieving the status of a legend, is at least a cult figure. Ignored by some jazz vocal authorities - - she doesn't rate a single word in Will Friedwald's allegedly definitive Jazz Singing - - she certainly had the respect of several top flight jazz artists of the day as attested to by the personnel listing.
This album captured her work when she was making the transition from working as part of a group, like Nat Pierce's big band, to a solo artist. King's voice was a melodious soprano (although slipping into contralto from time to time), had a bell like tone distinguished by a vibrato that was to get heavier as the years progressed. Her extraordinary vocal translucence and excellent phrasing come from early training in classical music. "This Magic Moment" reveals the depths to which King explores the emotional value of the songs. Her performance of this Doc Pomus/Mort Schuman tune, wrenches at the heartstrings. But she could be jazzy as indicated on a too short version of "Who's Sorry Now?" and "I Don't Know Why" where the backing is provided by Charlie Shavers' trumpet. There are also six tracks when she was with the George Shearing Quintet. Her voice meshes nicely with the vibes sound Shearing was using in those days. This collection includes four cuts that came from demo discs. Unfortunately neither the dates not the composers can be identified. But clearly it was during the period when she was doing her Sarah Vaughan thing as on "Lonesome Crowd". The last track on is a little promotion by Baldwin Street as it preview other of its releases. We get to hear some singing by Maxine Sullivan and Nancy Harrow.
Teddi King died too young from Lupus when she was barely 48. She had just recorded a session with Dave McKenna, but passed away before it was released. Once again, Baldwin Street Music has culled the recorded archives to come up with another winner in their quest to bring to CD sessions not easily available, if available at all, by well known, and not so well known vocalists. Recommended.
Track Listing: Goodbye Mr. Chops; You Don't Know What Love Is; Oh, You Crazy Moon; Lonesome Crowd; You May Not Love Me; Tell It to My Heart; Tea Kettle and Coffee Pot; The Wishing Star Dream; You Stand Accused; So all Alone; Love, Your Magic Spell is Everywhere; It's Easy to Remember; I Wished on the Moon; Midnight Belongs to You; Moonlight in Vermont; The Love Nest; My Funny Little Lover; The Dragon; In the Year You've Been Gone; I'll Never Be the Same; `Swonderful; Who's Sorry Now?; What Is This Thing Called Love?; I Don't Know Why; This Magic Moment; A Kiss for Tomorrow; Baldwin Street Music Preview
Personnel: Teddi King - Vocals; Nat Pierce/George Shearing - Piano; John Farrell - Conductor; Joe Roland - Vibes; Dick Garcia - Guitar; Al McKibbon - Bass; Marquis Foster - Drums; Dick Hyman - Piano/Organ; Charlie Shavers - Trumpet; Milt Hinton - Bass; Don Lamond - Drums
Record Label: Baldwin Street Music