Can excellent arrangements prop up a merely good singer? Listen to this session and be the judge. Lucy Reed is an obscure singer who counted Woody Herman and Charlie Ventura among her admirers; from this session, one can only guess that from those endorsements she was having an off day. Two thirds of the sessions are arranged by either Gil Evans or George Russell, both of whom create colorful washes to provide inventive backing for Reed and the various players. On this occasion, both use large ensembles to create lush and moody arrangements delivered at a languid pace, transforming standards like “There He Goes” and “In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning” into baroque lullabies. These feature Reed at her most effective and are filled with beautiful passages, but the quintet sessions, in which she channels Bessie Smith, are too overbearing and boisterous and display a limited tonal range. Given the right direction and guidance, Reed could probably be a great singer, but this album has the unfortunate distinction of making one appreciate the nuances of masters like Fitzgerald and Vaughan. There’s some great playing, from Art Farmer and Barry Galbraith for instance, just don’t buy it for the singing.
Track Listing: 1. There He Goes
2. Lucky To Be Me
3. (In The) Wee Small Hours (Of The Morning)
4. St. Louis Blues
5. Easy Come, Easy Go
6. Love For Sale
7. Little Boy Blue
8. A Trout, No Doubt
9. Born To Blow The Blues
10. This Is New
11. No Moon At All
12. You Don't Know What Love Is
Personnel: Lucy Reed (vocals) with Art Farmer, Barry Galbraith, Don Abney, Milt Hinton, George Russell, Jimmy Cleveland, Bill Pemberton, Gil Evans, Harry Lookofsky, Eddie Higgins, and others.