Review by Wayne Donnelly
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LP Stock Number:
Capitol T516 [Cisco Music]
This release, boys and girls, is something very cool indeed. "The Misty Miss Christy," as she was widely known, was one of the great jazz ballad stylists of the post-World War II era and through the '50ss, and this reissue brings one of her finest records back to the catalog. Christy's early career was as a big band
vocalist, primarily with Stan Kenton. In the '50s she worked frequently with Pete
Rugolo, whom she had met during his stint as Kenton's chief arranger. Rugolo produced most of her records, and the inventive, brassy sound of his band is heard on this LP.
Christy's vocalism is a marvel: fine range with secure high and low registers, perfect intonation and diction (you don't need a lyric sheet to listen to Christy), a singing style I've decided to dub "warmly cool" -- all guided by her taste and respect for the song and the audience. She does little scatting; that would come more to the fore with the next wave of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn
et al. But listening to this collection of standards, I find nothing old-fashioned or dated in Christy's art.
There isn't a weak cut on the record, but I'll single out for special mention Christy's delicate, tender "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," torchy "A Stranger Called the Blues," and smoothly upbeat "I'll Take Romance" as providing a good cross section of her stylistic range. (Notice: those favorites are subject to change without warning.) As of this writing, I've played this record easily a dozen times, and it isn't likely to stray far from the turntable for quite a while.
The Cisco web site asserts that if you on an original of this LP you'll be blown away by the improved sound of the reissue. Well, I don't have the original, but I'm still blown away. Everything about this project turned out great. It should lead to a whole new audience for this important American singer among today's fans of jazz vocal.