Dave and Iola Brubeck wrote most of the songs on this vocal compilation, including excerpts from their show The Real Ambassadors. Culled from several early 1960s releases, each selection features a singer or singers. Two previously unreleased tracks are included: a take of “It’s A Raggy Waltz” with Carmen McRae and an arrangement of “Autumn In Our Town” with whispery singer Ranny Sinclair. The refreshing “Raggy Waltz” works well as a vocal number, while “Autumn In Our Town” proves to be much less effective. The combination of Sinclair’s pure, young and innocent voice alongside harsher pickups of guitar and piano creates problems.
Precious moments include Paul Desmond’s few appearances, Tony Bennett’s “That Old Black Magic” thrill, the firm confidence of both Rushing and McRae, Louis Armstrong’s storytellin’ and LHR’s dazzling scat display. Brubeck and Desmond both provide examples of their best solo work on “Ain’t Misbehavin’” with Rushing.
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross work hand in hand with Armstrong on The Real Ambassadors selections to remind the world that jazz is indeed a universal language. Featuring its own cast of expressive singers, the Vocal Encounters compilation offers the reader an interesting program on CD.
Track Listing: That Old Black Magic; Summer Song; My Melancholy Baby; It
Personnel: Dave Brubeck- piano; Paul Desmond- alto saxophone; Eugene Wright- bass; Joe Morello- drums; Danny Barcelona- drums; Trummy Young- trombone; Joe Darensbourg- clarinet; Louis Armstrong- trumpet, vocal; Tony Bennett, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Jimmy Rushing, Carmen McRae, Peter, Paul & Mary, Ranny Sinclair- vocals; other instrumentalists.