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A veteran of the Borscht Belt, hotel dining and ball rooms, Bar Mitzvahs and other assorted social events, Liz Diamond has finally made it to the recording studio after many years in the business. She started quite young. Joined by a quintet of superb sidemen, Diamond applies her considerable experience and panache to a program of 12 romantic ballads, many of which she has likely sung many times before. Consequently, Diamond is able to weave a special intimacy and familiarity into each song. After all the years on the boards, the voice has developed a husky, smoky mature sound. Nonetheless her range is still surprisingly broad and Diamond always stays in tune. She wisely works her sidemen to her advantage, allowing them to emphasize the unique texture of her voice. In addition to the ballads, Diamond and group do some brisk versions of "Lover, Come Back to Me," "September in the Rain" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love".
Diamond is sufficiently savvy to give her playing mates plenty of room to stretch out. There is as much time on this CD devoted to instrumentals as to vocalizing. The single guitar work of Ray Macchiarola stands out especially on "Gone with the Wind". Bobby Porcelli's alto is also prominent on many of the cuts. But as usual on an album such as this, it's the piano that carries the critical accompaniment load. Here, it's Lennie Tristano disciple Tardo Hammer who fills the role with distinction. Hammer brings a background of working with the likes of Abbey Lincoln and Annie Ross to this session.
This album captures a voice and a style from the past and is well worth a listen. Recommended.
Track Listing: If I Had You; (I Don't Stand) a Ghost of Chance with You; I Fall in Love too Easily; Gone with the Wind; Lover, Come Back to Me; You Don't Know What Love Is; Yesterdays; September in the Rain; The Man I Love; I Can't Give You Anything but Love; For All We Know; Sometimes I'm Happy
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.