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Jazz Articles about Helen Merrill

Multiple Reviews

Helen Merrill: The Helen Merrill-Dick Katz Sessions and Casa Forte

Read "Helen Merrill: The Helen Merrill-Dick Katz Sessions and Casa Forte" reviewed by Samuel Chell

Music-making, from conception to realization, is contaminated by the rhetoric of personality. And even more than instrumental music, vocal performances are often poorly served by language focused on the desires and disappointments, frustrations and satisfactions of the artist's “self" rather than on the “art." But quite apart from the self-expression (since the Romantic era, a birthright of every child) that inescapably clings to the creative process, what remains is something new that has come into being--a creation, moreover, that is ...

Album Review

Helen Merrill: Complete Recordings with Clifford Brown

Read "Complete Recordings with Clifford Brown" reviewed by David Rickert

Many people are familiar with Clifford Brown's collaboration with Sarah Vaughan, which many consider to be a classic. Far less well-known is his record with singer Helen Merrill for Emarcy from 1954, which features a similar set up and feel. Merrill has always been on the second tier of jazz singers as far as popularity is concerned, but is a reliable performer who can turn out enchanting performances. She's the type of singer whom many would simply put in front ...


Helen Merrill: 60 Years of Warm Sweet Songs

Read "Helen Merrill: 60 Years of Warm Sweet Songs" reviewed by Joao Moreira dos Santos

One of the most distinctive jazz singers ever, Helen Merrill started singing professionally sixty years ago when her warm voice paired with the Reggie Childs Orchestra in 1946. But that was just the start of a long and vivid story which would lead the talented young daughter of Croatian immigrants to make history in jazz by recording with [trumpeter] Clifford Brown and [arranger/bandleader] Gil Evans in the 1950s. A story which includes the opportunity of sharing the stage with luminaries ...

Multiple Reviews

Helen Merrill: Lilac Wine; Andrea Wolper: The Small Hours

Read "Helen Merrill: Lilac Wine; Andrea Wolper: The Small Hours" reviewed by Andrew Velez

Helen Merrill Lilac Wine Sunnyside 2005

Listen carefully to Helen Merrill's phrasing as she revisits “Lilac Wine , a song she first recorded in the '50s. “...I think I'm ready for my love... It's her ever-so-delicate emphasis of “ready which makes the impassioned state she's in so clear. Always at her own particular pace and tempo, Merrill's ability to express emotional nuances is an essential element in the alluring mystery of her singing. It ...

Album Review

Helen Merrill: Music Makers

Read "Music Makers" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Jazz vocalist Helen Merrill doesn't record that often and when she does, it is often an unpredictable session. For her last major label work in 2000, Jelena Ana Milcactic A.K.A. Helen Merrill, recorded music based upon her Croatian heritage; it was quite a project but somehow eluded me. Music Makers is a reissue of a 1986 session, originally on Sunnyside, with two unusual trios. Merrill appears with long-time accompanist Gordon Beck on piano and electric piano, plus either master violinist ...

Album Review

Helen Merrill: Jelena Ana Milcetic aka Helen Merrill

Read "Jelena Ana Milcetic aka Helen Merrill" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

There has never been a jazz vocal record quite like Jelena Ana Milcetic a.k.a. Helen Merrill. It is obvious from the very first track as the Lado Folk Dance and Music Ensemble of Croatia intone a movement from the liturgical cantata “Telo Kristusevo" against the backdrop of Terry Clarke's thundering drums. It is a prayer sung to God that resonates with all the beauty and mystery of an ancient Eastern European people. It is with the music of her ancestral ...


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