At the suggestion of a trusted advisor, I have agreed to provide a brief description of some of my recordings. All cds listed are available for sale at Amazon.com. Just click on the cd cover photo to go to the specific page for purchase. Full details about these recordings can be found at the Carol Sloane discography at JazzDiscography.com.
OUT OF THE BLUE
This is my first release for Columbia Records in the fall of 1961, a contract which came as a direct result of my appearance at The Newport Jazz Festival that year. The arrangements were written by legendary Bill Finegan of the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, and the band was comprised of equally famous musicians such as Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer. To say I was quaking in my 21-year old boots would be a major understatement. In this period, individual tracks from a recording were eligible for a Grammy Award. “My Ship” received a nomination in this category. (Should have gotten the actual award for Bill’s work, if I may say so).
This recording is so very dear to my heart. It features my long-time friend Paul Montgomery who was not only a sympathetic accompanist, but also possessed the extraordinary mental capacity to retain hundreds of Great American Songbook titles tucked away in his little gray cells. Paul’s love of music inspired him to collect recordings at an early age, so The Music Room of his cozy home in Raleigh, NC featured floor to ceiling shelving for reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, hundreds of 78’s, LPs, EPs, and CDs. He knew every song I knew or ever hoped to sing.
“Subway Tokens” gets its name from the location of this “live” recording, a jazz club on the underground level of a shopping mall in Raleigh, NC. The Tokens are the songs I sing. Paul Montgomery was not only a fine musician, but he was an indefatigable clown in the truest sense of the word. He loved to laugh and to make people laugh. The last track of this cd is a hilarious example of how he could easily entertain the audience and break me up at the same time. There is no other version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” quite like this one. Astoundingly, at this writing I find “Subway Tokens” going at Amazon for a staggering $1,916.28.
AS TIME GOES BY
Recorded in Tokyo on the day Ingrid Bergman died in Paris (Aug. 29, 1982), this CD features the famous song, plus Don Abney playing piano. A marvelous Japanese bass player named Yukinori Narishige and American drummer Tim Horner also add to the relaxed pleasure of this session. No written arrangements. The material was so familiar to all of us: we just found my key and away we went. This cd is high on my personal list of favorites.
BUT NOT FOR ME
I am so proud to have this session on my resume because it is the only time I recorded with another jazz legend, the miraculous Tommy Flanagan. Tommy played for Ella Fitzgerald for over 20 years, and he kindly took the trouble to make sure I knew the verse to each Gershwin song we chose. The exceptional George Mraz is the bass player, sensitive Al Foster is on drums and another renowned musician, Frank Wess plays tenor. The compositions of George and Ira Gershwin are featured, and the selection of a black and white photograph of an empty bathtub remains a mystery only the Japanese producers can explain.
LOVE YOU MADLY
This recording is among my absolute favorites. It features brilliant jazz arrangements by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett in addition to an all-star complement of famous jazz musicians: Art Farmer, Clifford Jordan, Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid and Akira Tana. It was also my first recording for the Contemporary Label, and the beginning of my association with Helen Keane, producer of a host of Bill Evans’ albums.
THE REAL THING
Another group of world-class musicians: the pianist is Mike Renzi who shares with me the distinction of being born in Providence, RI. Mike’s accompaniment and exquisite arrangements have been in demand since he first arrived in New York some twenty-five years ago. You’ll hear the incomparable Rufus Reid on bass, always sensitive Grady Tate on drums and jazz giant Phil Woods on alto and clarinet. Helen Keane produced this follow-up to “Love You Madly”, and memory tells me this was a treat from start to finish.
SWEET AND SLOW
This 1993 recording features three musicians who played for me on a memorable Concord-Fujitsu Jazz Festival tour in Japan in 1990. The concert featured The Modern Jazz Quartet, The Frank Wess Big Band, Mel Torme with a trio, and me with a young D.C.-based pianist named Stefan Scaggiari, Boston bass player John Lockwood and veteran drummer Colin Bailey. It was during this tour that I re-named the trio “The Eating And Drinking Machine” because they ate a LOT of sushi and drank a LOT of Japanese beer. They were perpetually cheerful of course, and remained steady on their feet. This CD also features the much-requested ballad “An Older Man Is Like An Elegant Wine” written by my close friend Lee Wing.
THE SONGS CARMEN SANG
This CD is the first in a trilogy devoted to three of our most admired singers: Carmen McRae, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. The magnificent Phil Woods is the featured horn here, and the trio is also world-class: Bill Charlap piano, Michael Moore bass, and Ron Vincent drums. Titles are some of the songs I most loved to hear Carmen sing, and there is a tag on the end of the CD which establishes this as a unique recording. Carmen often left messages on my home message machine, but this one I cherished and saved. You can hear it for yourself after “I’m An Errand Girl For Rhythm”.
THE SONGS SINATRA SANG
A small band of the most skilled musicians: Frank Wess tenor and flute; Byron Stripling trpt; Greg Gisbert trpt; Steve Turre trmb; Bill Easley tenor/alto/soprano; Scott Robinson baritone/bass saxes. The rhythm sections were Bill Charlap piano on all tracks with Ben Brown bass and Dennis Mackrel drums. Sean Smith bass and Ron Vincent replace Brown and Mackrel on five tracks. Of course, choosing titles was the biggest challenge, but the obvious ones (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “One For My Baby”, and “Fly Me To The Moon”) along with ten others made the cut. Band sounds superb.
THE SONGS ELLA AND LOUIS SANG
It was one of those All-Star tributes at Carnegie Hall in 1996. This one was dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald, and Clark Terry and I were asked to perform together. We had such a good time in this setting that I whispered to CT that Concord Records might be interested in a recorded homage to the brilliant work Ella and Louis had preserved in their definitive works together. Bill Charlap once again played piano, Marcus McLaurine bass and Dennis Mackrel is the drummer. I was very pleased when the venerable music scholar George Simon agreed to write the liner notes.
I NEVER WENT AWAY
These tracks were recorded in an all-day session in a small studio in New Jersey. In spite of the time constraints, I’m proud of the work, and the musicians are outstanding: Norman Simmons piano, Steve LaSpina bass, Paul Bollenback guitar, Kenny Washington drums and Bill Easley alto, tenor, flute and clarinet. The opening track is an obscure song Norman suggested, and marks the very first of many beautiful notes Paul played for me thereafter.
I had finished a strenuous week at The Village Vanguard the night before this record date with some of my favorite pals: Norman Simmons piano, Paul West bass, Grady Tate drums and Paul Bollenback guitar. I should have had sense enough to give us all at least twenty-four hours to decompress, but my brain was as weary as my body. However, the results are satisfactory and we were certainly well-rehearsed. One note about Norman Simmons: I always admired his work with Carmen McRae and Joe Williams, and vowed I would one day know the joy of working with him myself. Norman knows when NOT to play, and that is perhaps the greatest attribute of an accompanist, in the exalted tradition of Jimmy Rowles and Bill Charlap.
Now we are in authentic minimalist territory: piano, horn and voice. A versatile Boston-based pianist named Brad Hatfield is here, along with the amazingly inventive and durable horn player Ken Peplowski. This album was recorded in a small, gem-like studio in Westwood, MA. Ken and I stood beside the piano without use of head phones, recording the old-fashioned way.
WE’LL MEET AGAIN
This is the second CD for Mat Domber’s highly respected Arbors Records. In the light-hearted atmosphere of Nola Studios located in the heart of Manhattan, veteran engineers Jimmy Czak and Bill Moss kindly accommodated my request to stand out in the open beside the musicians rather than being confined to a claustrophobic sound booth. So, my long-time friends Steve LaSpina (b), Ken Peplowski (clarinet/tenor) and Bucky Pizzarelli on acoustic guitar and I went to work. Well-known songs here, authentic swing, and my chance to sing the title song which has haunted me all my life.