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During the period when jazz had reached a popular appeal unlike anything seen before or since, the idea of a woman vocalist fronting a big band was a fashionable and alluring notion. It was the swing era and such names as Mildred Bailey, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, and countless others came up through the ranks, first getting their starts as an adjunct to the dance bands. That kind of experience no longer exists for today's jazz vocalist, yet there has been somewhat of a resurgence in the idea of the chanteuse, with Diana Krall leading the pack. Even with seven albums as a leader under her belt, Carla White has no way near the name recognition of Krall, yet that situation might change for the better if The Sweetest Sounds gets the kind of recognition and plaudits that it should.
To say that White's vocal personality is a bit rarefied is to put it mildly. Her scope of feeling is wide, often speaking the lyrics in a hushed breath with a full vibrato available to support more dramatic moments. It's a sensuous "rap" that marks a very atypical "Love For Sale," while some great scatting effects give "Day In, Day Out" and "This Can't Be Love" facelifts of attractive proportions. A surefire New York piano trio headed by Peter Madsen is at White's beck and call, with tenor saxophone great Lew Tabackin providing a few lavish solos to boot. White's own "But I Was Wrong" augments eleven substantial cuts. Loose and spontaneous, but solidly together, this is great vocal jazz that is deserving of a wider audience.
Track Listing: Midnight Sun, This Can't Be Love, It's Easy To Remember, But I Was Wrong, Alone Together, Two Lost Souls, Love For Sale, I Didn't Know About You, Day In-Day Out, Bittersweet, The Sweetest Sounds
Personnel: Carla White (vocals), Peter Madsen (piano), Dean Johnson (bass), Tom Rainey (drums), Lew Tabackin (tenor saxophone), Steve Berrios (percussion)