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This very pleasing offering came as a result of Gloria Cooper's editing of the Second Floor Music publication Sing Jazz. She was not familiar with many of the songs covered in the publication, prompting her to record a new disc featuring some of this material.
A large number these songs started out as instrumentals, with lyrics added much later. Because of this, it seems quite appropriate that Cooper treats her voice as an instrument, rather than taking an out-front approach. Since her voice has a soft quality, this makes for a successful formula, captured to perfection by Rudy Van Gelder's engineering talents.
The instrumentalists are Cooper (piano), Don Sickler (trumpet/flugelhorn), Wayne Escoffery (tenor and soprano saxophones), Freddie Bryant (guitar), Tim Givens (bass) and Vince Cherico (drums). Sickler handled all the arrangements, with the exception of "Dedicated To You and "Come Rain Or Come Shine, which were arranged by Cooper. Cooper's one original is "Reveling In The Beat," with lyrics by jazz journalist Ira Gitler. Bryant's guitar shines on this track.
The tunes all have a fine ensemble feel, with good solos. Cooper's piano work is of the less-is-more school and is very tasty throughout, but her voice is what makes the material work.
Track Listing: All My Love, Especially For You; Just A Little Boy; Garden In The Sand; Two Reflect As One;
Dedicated To You; Seabreeze; Something Unusual; You Never Leave My Mind; Reveling In The
Beat; Big Brown Eyes; Without You; Come Rain Or Come Shine
Personnel: Gloria Cooper: voice/piano;
Don Sickler: trumpet/flugelhorn;
Wayne Escoffery: soprano & tenor saxophones;
Freddie Bryant: guitar;
Tim Givens: bass;
Vince Cherico: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.