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Singer Terry Blaine likes to use her album releases as a vehicle for giving a nod to those who have influenced her. Among these are Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Lee Wiley, Helen Ward, Annette Hanshaw, Martha Tilton, Helen Forrest and Ethel Waters . For their fifth album together Blaine and long time accompanist Mark Shane have structured a program patterned after recordings made between 1929 and 1939 by Ethel Waters and J. P. Johnson for the Columbia label. With James P. Johnson in the mix, it's understandable why 1/3 of the play list belong to tunes by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf, including their lovely, underplayed "Lonesome Swallow". Blaine picks up several of the jazz influenced mannerisms that made Waters one of the top singers of her day before the movies beckoned, such as those cute second chorus embellishments. While at first hearing, these sound somewhat dated, they only add to the charm of Blaine's (and Water's) handling of these great tunes. Mark Shane captures the stride of James P. Johnson and the way Johnson used that device to highlight Water's vocal artistry, especially on such tunes as "Am I Blue" and "Willow Tree". There are a couple of ballads on the program, such as a lovely "Home (When Shadows Fall)", but mostly what we hear are the highly infectious rhythms of Blaine and Shane.
It's hard to imagine any two performers who can handle this material better than these two. With Blaine's dark, husky Lee Wiley like voice and Shane's delicate stride piano, this happy album is one that should be considered for the record collection. Visit Terry's and Mark's Jukebox Jazz site .
Track Listing: Squeeze Me; Lonesome Swallow; I Got Rhythm; My Handy Man; Memories
of You; Hate to Talk About Myself; Willow Tree; Am I Blue; I'm Glad There Is
You; Jeepers Creepers; River (Stay `Way from My Door); You Don't
Understand; Do what You Did Last Night; 100 Years from Today; Long
About Midnight; Shim Sham Shimmy Dance; Don't Cry Baby; Home (When
Personnel: Terry Blaine - Vocals; Mark Shane - Piano
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.