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Etta Jones: Don't Go to Strangers

Jim Santella By

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"Don't Go to Strangers was Etta Jones' trademark song. She could make any jazz standard come alive, though, and she did on this 1960 Prestige album with a line-up of jazz all-stars. Together, band and vocalist tell the stories with a genuine spirit. The sound is superb. Jones and the band are in sync, and the mood fits pure jazz like a glove.

Some readers are apt to confuse Etta Jones with Etta James. We remember Jones because she interpreted jazz standards with a magnetic, personal appeal. "I Love Paris, "All the Way, "On the Street Where You Live and "Bye Bye Blackbird have remained timeless because folks like Jones kept them alive.

Jones (1928-2001) appeared in a talent contest at the Apollo Theater at age fifteen. She lost, but that proved to be her big start just the same. The exposure led to a gig with the Buddy Johnson big band and eventual recording contracts. Her career then had its ups and downs, but Don't Go to Strangers brought Jones into the fold to stay.

Most of the album features flautist Frank Wess as a musical partner for the singer. This was 1960, after all. But, it's as relevant today as it was forty-seven years ago.

This 24-bit re-mastering of Don't Go to Strangers comes with its original, extensive liner notes by LeRoi Jones and an updated set by Bob Porter. Some of the best I've seen in a long time, they're informative and serve as a fine companion to this treasured volume of Etta Jones memories.


Track Listing: Yes Sir, That

Personnel: Etta Jones: vocals; Frank Wess: flute, tenor saxophone; Richard Wyands: piano; Skeeter Best: guitar; George Duvivier: bass; Roy Haynes: drums.

Title: Don't Go to Strangers | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Prestige Records


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