The inestimable, indefatigable and indestructible Rosemary Clooney devotes her umpteenth album for Concord to her days as a girl singer. She started, as vocal fans know, with the Tony Pastor Orch. back in the 1940's which seems like eons ago, which it is. Over the years she sang with Harry James and others during her career. But although "girl singer" is in the title, her current status is quite different. As an icon singer of the Great American Songbook, the band and its arrangements are built around her. No waiting for the "boys" to take the first chorus before sidling up to the mike for her one chorus. She sings first and the band and/or soloists take what's left over. To even hint that this is the Clooney of those old days, or even ten years ago, when it comes to range would be untoward. On "That Old Black Magic" she goes down the scale where she used to go up. But when it comes to interpretation, phrasing and timing, she is still a genius, as good as anyone and better than most working the vocal boards these days. Just listen to what she does with "They Can't Take That away from Me". She leaves no doubt what that tune means, the savoring of those memories left over from a love affair gone south.
Her "new" big band is Matt Catingub's Big Kahuna and the Copa Pack Cat band backing on most cuts. Long time piano/associate John Oddo contributes nine orchestrations to this event and spends a few tracks at the piano. There are some fine icing on the cake solos including Matt Catingub's alto on "I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues" and Dave Scott's trumpet on "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm". Catingub also plays piano as Clooney does "You Go to My Head" with just rhythm section. Vocal history savant Will Friedwald spends a considerable amount of space on his lengthy liner notes explaining why Clooney is really a jazz singer, for what reason escapes me. Clooney needs neither categorization nor justification. She is one of a kind and may she go on forever. Recommended without hesitation.
Track Listing: That old Black Magic; I'm Glad There Is You; I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm; You Go to My Head; And the Angels Sing; Happiness Is a Thing Called Love; I'm the Big Band Singer; You belong to Me; I'll Be Around; I've Got a Right to sing the Blues; Ya Got Class; Rockin' Chair; The Singer; They Can't Take That away from Me; Sentimental Journey; Medley: I Cried For You/Who's Sorry Now?/Goody Goody
Personnel: Rosemary Clooney - Vocals; Matt Catingub - Leader/Alto Sax/Synthesizer/Piano, Vocal; Albert Alva, Jeff Prinz - Alto Sax; Matt Cowan - Tenor Sax; Jennifer Lovejoy - Baritone Saxophone; Dave Scott, Brian Kettelhut, Mike Olmos, Thomas Marriot- Trumpet; Doug Beavers, Greg Saul - Trombone Dan Parentti. Tom Warrington, Chuck Berghoffer - Bass; Steve Moretti, Bob Leatherbarrow. Joe La Barbera - Drums; John Oddo - Piano; Vincent Falcone - Piano/Synthesizer