Cuadro de Jotas – Music From Sunny Spain (1958)

FrontCover1The music of Spain has a long history and has played an important role in the development of Western music and has greatly influenced Latin American music. Spanish music is often associated with traditional styles such as flamenco and classical guitar. While these forms of music are common, there are many different traditional musical and dance styles across the regions. For example, music from the north-west regions is heavily reliant on bagpipes, the jota is widespread in the centre and north of the country, and flamenco originated in the south. Spanish music played a notable part in the early developments of western classical music, from the 15th through the early 17th century. The breadth of musical innovation can be seen in composers like Tomás Luis de Victoria, styles like the zarzuela of Spanish opera, the ballet of Manuel de Falla, and the classical guitar music of Francisco Tárrega.

The jota (Spanish: [ˈxota]; Catalan: [ˈdʒɔta]; Aragonese: hota [ˈxota] or ixota [iˈʃota]; Asturian: xota [ˈʃota]; Galician: xota [ˈʃɔta]; old Spanish spelling: xota[1]) is a genre of music and the associated dance known throughout Spain, most likely originating in Aragon. It varies by region, having a characteristic form in Aragon (where it is the most important[1]), Catalonia, Castile, Navarre, Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, La Rioja, Murcia and Eastern Andalusia. Being a visual representation, the jota is danced and sung accompanied by castanets, and the interpreters tend to wear regional costumes. In Valencia, the jota was once danced during interment ceremonies.

Man and woman dancing Jota aragonesa, traditional Spanish dance. Created by Gustave Dore, published on Le Tour Du Monde, Paris, 1867

The jota tends to have a 3/4 rhythm, although some authors maintain that the 6/8 is better adapted to the poetic and choreographic structure. For their interpretation, guitars, bandurrias, lutes, dulzaina, and drums are used in the Castilian style, while the Galicians use bagpipes, drums, and bombos. Theatrical versions are sung and danced with regional costumes and castanets, though such things are not used when dancing the jota in less formal settings. The content of the songs is quite diverse, from patriotism to religion to sexual exploits. In addition to this, the songs also have the effect of helping to generate a sense of local identity and cohesion.

The steps have an appearance not unlike that of the waltz, though in the case of the jota, there is much more variation. Furthermore, the lyrics tend to be written in eight-syllable quartets, with assonance in the first and third verses. (by Wikipedia)


Alternate frontcover

And this is a rare single, recorded by the house band (a quartett) of a restaurant in Madrid called “Casa de Aragon”

And we hear a lot of this tradtional Jota Dance songs … enjoy this beatiful music !


01 Jota De Albalate (Tradicional) 3.07
02. Seguidillas De Lecinena (Barrenechea) 1.37
03. Bolero De Caspe (Larregla) 2.10
04. Jotas De Picadillo (Tradicional) 3.09
05. Jotas De Estilo (Tradicional) 3.08

All songs were arranged by A. L. Merinero





Harry Belafonte – To Wish You A Merry Christmas (1958)

FrontCover1To Wish You a Merry Christmas is an album by Harry Belafonte Recorded May 27, 31, June 1, 3 and 8 of 1958 in Hollywood. Conducted by Bob Corman. Millard Thomas and Laurindo Almeida, guitarists. Produced and directed by Ed Welker.

To Wish You a Merry Christmas was originally released in 1958 as RCA Victor catalog number LPM/LSP-1887. The original LP cover featured an illustration of the Three Wise Men and a listing of the songs in front.

The mournful “Star in the East” begins with Harry’s lone voice shrouded in echo. Later, he’s accompanied by subdued choral backing. The mood is sustained on “Gifts They Gave,” a performance with spare orchestral support. Yet another gentle rendering on “Son of Mary,” which is also known as “What Child is This?” and in secular form, “Greensleeves.” Millard’s guitar can be heard among orchestra instruments on the sprighgtly “12 Days.” Almeida’s mandolin is lead on “Jesus Sleeps.” A mixed chorus sings a bit of “Joys of Christmas” at the beginning of the medley. After Belafonte does “Bethlehem” they reprise “Joys” then lead on “Deck the Halls.” One more verse of “Joys” precedes Harry’s “Noël” solo. “Joys of Christmas” concludes Side One.

Belafonte“Mary’s Boy Child” was featured on many RCA compilations over the years. It was written in 1956 for Harry’s AN EVENING WITH BELAFONTE (LPM 1402) album by Jester Hairston. He also composed “Amen” and was a supporting actor on TV’s THE AMOS ‘N’ ANDY SHOW. Harry’s version was a #1 hit in Britain that same year. “Silent Night” is fairly orthodox stylistically and features twin guitars. The chorus fades in at the top of “Christmas is Coming.” They rondo as Harry sings lead on what is a variation of “A’soalin’,” as heard on the two record IN CONCERT Peter, Paul & Mary album. For those who prefer straight folk music, “Mary, Mary” is the best example here. It’s just voice and two guitars and is most serene. “Jehovah” has the same structure as “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.” This set’s final medley is initially its most energetic track. No label or content mention is given to “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” When Belafonte sang the musical adaptation of Longfellow’s “Bells,” it was a brand new song. Since 1958, this one’s become a Yuletide standard. (by  Annie Van Auken)

AlternateFrontCoverAlternate frontcover

Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Frantz Casseus (guitar)
Millard Thomas (guitar)
unknown orchestra conducted by Robert DeCormier

01. A Star In The East (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 4.17
02. The Gifts They Gave (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 4.00
03. The Son Of Mary (Greensleeves) (Traditional) 3:24
04. The Twelve Days Of Christmas (Traditional) 3.49
05. Where the Little Jesus Sleeps (Traditional)  2.07
06. Medley: 5.54
06.1. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (Brooks/Redner)
06.2.Deck The Halls (Traditional)
06.3.The First Noel (Traditional)
07. Mary’s Boy Child (Hairston) 4.24
08. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 3.37
09. Christmas Is Coming (Traditional)
10. Mary, Mary (DeCormier) 3:24
11. Jehovah the Lord Will Provide (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 2.59
12. Medley: 4.32
12.1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Traditional)
12.2, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Corman/Okun)
13. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (Cash/Longfellow/Marks) 3.05


Jeri Southern – Southern Breeze (1958)

FrontCover1Jeri Southern (August 5, 1926 – August 4, 1991) was an American jazz pianist and singer.

Born Genevieve Hering in Royal, Nebraska, Southern began playing piano at age three, and at age six started formal study in classical piano.[1] She studied classical piano and voice at Sacred Heart in Omaha, Nebraska, where she became interested in jazz.

After beginning her career at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, she joined a United States Navy recruiting tour during World War II. In the late 1940s, she worked in Chicago clubs where she once played piano for Anita O’Day. During this period, Southern became known for her singing, particularly for her renditions of torch songs.

She signed with Decca Records in 1951 and became known both for pop and jazz. The 1950s saw her at the height of her career. In 1955 her recording of “An Occasional Man”, reached #89 in the Billboard pop chart. In that decade she sang in a few films and in 1957 she had a Top 30 hit with “Fire Down Below.” The track peaked at #22 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1957. After her switch to Capitol Records, she had success doing interpretations of Cole Porter with Billy May arranging some of the more humorous examples.

In the 1960s she gave up the music industry to teach, and later moved to Hollywood, California to work on film composing with Hugo Friedhofer. She wrote Interpreting Popular Music At The Keyboard during her final years.

Southern died in Los Angeles of pneumonia in 1991, at the age of 64.(by wikipedia)

JeriSouthern2One mark of a great jazz vocalist is the material she picks. Jeri Southern was one of the great students of jazz-era song, and the material she chose for Southern Breeze is strong in two ways — they’re not only great songs, but they’re great for her. Never blessed with a strong voice, Southern instead realized the artistic advantages those qualities brought, and often chose torch songs or unlucky-in-love songs that accentuated her seeming weaknesses and everywoman qualities. With charts from arranger genius Marty Paich, Southern opens on a high note, the glib “Down with Love.” Yet to come are happy yet forlorn choices “Who Wants to Fall in Love” and “Because He Reminds Me of You” — Southern even finds the catch in “Crazy He Calls Me.” And in true West Coast fashion, the music features brass that swings lightly and a dynamic range that frequently plumbs the depths (including tuba and baritone sax), all possible thanks to Paich’s charts and able musicians including Georgie Auld, Don Fagerquist, and Bob Enevoldsen. Upbeat standards get their chance to shine as well — “Ridin’ High,” “I Like the Likes of You” — but most of Southern Breeze is gloriously melancholy. (by John Bush)

Georgie Auld (saxophone)
Frank Beach (trumpet)
Bud Clark (bass)
Jack Dulong (saxophone)
Bob Enevoldsen (trombone)
Don Fagerquist (trumpet)
Herb Geller (saxophone)
John Kitzmiller (tuba)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Bill Pittman (guitar)
Vince De Rosa (french horn)
Jeri Southern (vocals)

01. Down With Love (Harburg/Arlen) 3.15
02. Crazy He Calls Me (Russell/Sigman) 3.49
03. Lazy Bones (Mercer/Carmichael) 3.08
04. Who Wants To Fall In Love (Howard) 3.18
05. Then I’ll Be Tired Of You (Harburg/Schwartz) 3.50
06. Ridin’ High (Porter) 2.24
07. Because He Reminds Me Of You (Gordon/Revel) 3.16
08. Porgy (Fields/McHugh) 3.37
09. Are These Really Mine (Skylar/Saxon/Cook) 3.43
10. Isn’t This A Lovely Day (Berlin) 3.01
11. Warm Kiss (Robert/Fisher) 2.58
12. I Like The Likes Of You (Harburg/Duke) 2.55


Art Bakley and The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’ (1958)

ArtBlakeyFrontCover1Moanin’ is a jazz album by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers recorded in 1958.

This was Blakey’s first album for Blue Note in several years, after a period of recording for a miscellany of labels, and marked both a homecoming and a fresh start. Originally the LP was self-titled, but the instant popularity of the bluesy opening track “Moanin'” (by pianist Bobby Timmons) led to its becoming known by that title.

The rest of the originals are by saxophonist Benny Golson (who was not with the Jazz Messengers for long; this being the only American album on which he is featured). “Are You Real?” is a propulsive thirty-two-bar piece with a four-bar tag, featuring two-part writing for Golson and trumpeter Lee Morgan. “Along Came Betty” is a more lyrical, long-lined piece, almost serving as the album’s ballad. “The Drum Thunder Suite” is a feature for Blakey, in three movements: “Drum Thunder”; “Cry a Blue Tear”; and “Harlem’s Disciples”. “Blues March” calls on the feeling of the New Orleans marching bands, and the album finishes on its only standard, an unusually brisk reading of “Come Rain or Come Shine”. Of the originals on the album, all but the “Drum Thunder Suite” became staples of the Messengers book, even after Timmons and Golson were gone. Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in his meticulous Hackensack studios, this recording reflects the hallmark precision associated with that engineer, (on the reissue there is a brief conversation between Lee Morgan and Rudy Van Gelder going over Morgan’s solo.)

BlakeyThe album stands as one of the archetypal hard bop albums of the era, for the intensity of Blakey’s drumming and the work of Morgan, Golson and Timmons, and for its combination of old-fashioned gospel and blues influences with a sophisticated modern jazz sensibility.

A vocalese version of “Moanin'” was later written by Jon Hendricks, and recorded by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, as well as jazz vocalists Bill Henderson and Karrin Allyson. (by wikipedia)

Moanin’ includes some of the greatest music Blakey produced in the studio with arguably his very best band. There are three tracks that are immortal and will always stand the test Blakey2of time. The title selection is a pure tuneful melody stewed in a bluesy shuffle penned by pianist Bobby Timmons, while tenor saxophonist Benny Golson’s classy, slowed “Along Came Betty” and the static, militaristic “Blues March” will always have a home in the repertoire of every student or professional jazz band. “Are You Real?” has the most subtle of melody lines, and “Drum Thunder Suite” has Blakey’s quick blasting tom-tom-based rudiments reigning on high as the horns sigh, leading to hard bop. “Come Rain or Come Shine” is the piece that commands the most attention, a highly modified, lilting arrangement where the accompanying staggered, staccato rhythms contrast the light-hearted refrains. Certainly a complete and wholly satisfying album, Moanin’ ranks with the very best of Blakey and what modern jazz offered in the late ’50s and beyond. (by Michael G. Nastos)

Art Blakey (drums)
Benny Golson (saxophone)
Jymie Merritt (bass)
Lee Morgan (trumpet)
Bobby Timmons (piano)

01. Moanin’ (Timmons) 9.35
02. Are You Real (Golson) 4.50
03. Along Came Betty (Golson) 6.12
04. The Drum Thunder Suite (Golson) 7.33
05. Blues March (Golson) 6.17
06. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Arlen/Mercer) 5.49
07. So Tired (from “A Night In Tunisia, 1960) (Timmons) 6.33
08. Yama (from “A Night In Tunisia, 1960) (Morgan) 6.21


Johnny Cash – The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1958/2002)

FrontCover1The Fabulous Johnny Cash is the third album by American singer, Johnny Cash. It was released on November 3, 1958 by Columbia Records, long after Cash’s departure from Sun Records, and was re-issued in 2002 by Sony Music’s Legacy imprint. The re-issue contains six bonus tracks and unedited versions of the songs. Legacy Records reissued the album in 180 gram vinyl for Record Store Day in November 23, 2012.

The album features five tracks written by Cash and backing vocal performances by The Jordanaires (who at this time were also regulars on Elvis Presley’s recording sessions for RCA Records). Overall, even though the album is only 29 minutes in length, it is considered one of Cash’s most cohesive pieces. This is largely because his sessions with Columbia were completed over a two-month period. That is greatly reduced when compared to the year by year sessions by Sun Records.[2] The Fabulous Johnny Cash was a successful debut on Columbia for Cash as it sold over half a million copies during its initial release. The album was recorded simultaneously with Hymns by Johnny Cash, released in 1959. (by wikipedia)

Booklet03AThese 18 tracks (12 of them from the original 1959 LP, The Fabulous Johnny Cash, and 6 of them recorded during the same sessions, but previously unreleased in the U.S.) captured Cash during a particularly vital period of his long, illustrious career. Cash first broke through in the mid-`50s with his now-trademark “boom-chicka-boom” rhythms and sonorous, drawling baritone on Memphis’s Sun Records; these are the earliest recordings from his nearly three decades on the Columbia label. Demonstrating an energy and down-home diversity that would later become even more fully realized, Cash herein moves deftly from introspective ballads (his original “Run Softly, Blue River”) and railroad songs (“One More Ride”) to cowboy ballads (his sardonic original, “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”) and stoic laments like “I Still Miss Someone.” In the process, he refines a vivid musical persona that more or less became synonymous with country music in the 1960s. (by Bob Allen)

CD1If you even think of yourself as a casual Johnny Cash fan, do yourself a favor and hear this 2002 reissue of the first record Johnny did for Columbia in late 1958. It marks his “major label” debut, his deliberate turn from rockabilly/rock ‘n roll to country, gospel and folk songs, and the start of 28 consecutive years making big money with, and for, the company. This remastered disc, with six bonus tracks from the same two-month studio stint that resulted in the 12 original cuts, is really done right. The CD features the original cover and liner notes, plus a nice booklet and updated, detailed notes, and several period photos of John in performance. This effort was not only historically important for Johnny Cash, it was historic for me, too. I bought it when I was 14 and it was hot off the vinyl press. It was my first Cash album, my first stereo LP, and I liked 11 of the 12 songs (Only “Suppertime” seemed weak to me.) Somewhere around the early 70’s, my copy vanished. It was almost worn out, the cover was torn up by my many relocations, but I have no memory of what happened to it.

Booklet04AThe songs are good, the singing strong, and the guitar and bass from Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant and guitar from John himself are all wonderful. The only “dated” feel in the record are the backing vocals by the Jordanaires. Back in those days, “backing vocals” were thought to be vital on all kinds of records, pop, rock and country included. For instance, Buddy Holly’s hits had them, and many of Elvis’s too. In some songs, the vocal choruses do add some interest and contrast, but more often, to today’s ear, they could easily be eliminated. Their presence on “The Fabulous Johnny Cash” does not ruin any song, but we’ve learned in the 40-plus years since the album came out that Johnny does not need the help of The Jordanaires or anybody else to sell product. Listening to this CD today, for the first time in almost 30 years, I still love 11 of the 12 original selections (feeling “Suppertime” still is a bit weak), but I also like five of the six bonus tracks. (Only “Mama’s Baby” seems slight.) So, if you buy this, you’ll get 16 excellent examples of late-50’s Johnny Cash deliberately aimed at the country music customer of that time. Johnny’s reworking of the Frankie and Johnny saga song is clever; his version of the wanderlust train song “One More Ride” is one of the best performances of his entire career; the religious song “That’s Enough” is macho and unusual and stirring. You also get “I Still Miss Someone”, and I’ve heard a dozen other singers do that one over the decades, but no one has done it better than Cash, who wrote it. Next comes “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”, and as the astute liner notes point out, this one has subleties only a careful listener will realize. It deservedly was a big hit and has retained its popularity as a classic Cash piece.

Booklet02AI also like “I’d Rather Die Young”, a morbid love ballad, and “Shepherd of My Heart” a happier love song. Johnny wrote “Pickin’ Time” in honor of the cotton growers of his native Arkansas. I live adjacent to the cotton growers of far West Texas, and the song is a nice tribute to them as well. “That’s All Over” is about rebounding from romantic rejection, and I liked it even before I was old enough to be rejected, or to bounce back. “The Troubadour” points to the “beyond the glory” moments in a star singer’s life. The bonus tracks, one assumes, are items which didn’t make the final list to be included on the album. I agree that they are slightly less interesting than the songs which were released, but not by much. “Oh What a Dream” and “Fools Hall of Fame” and “Walking the Blues” are each good rockabilly in their own right, and sound as if they should have been released on his prior label, the incomparable Sun Records. To sum up, Johnny did a fine album back then, and Columbia/Legacy has done a great job of updating, expanding and presenting it for the modern fan. The product is worth every penny they are asking for it. (by William E. Adams)


Johnny Cash (guitar, vocals)
Marshall Grant (bass)
Don Helms (steel guitar)
Marvin Hughes (piano)
Morris Palmer (drums)
Luther Perkins (guitar)
Buddy Harman (drums on 12., 13. + 16.)
The Jordanaires (background vocals)

01. Run Softly, Blue River (Cash) 2.22
02. Frankie’s Man, Johnny (Cash) 2.15
03. That’s All Over (Glasser) 1.52
04. The Troubadour (Walker) 2.15
05. One More Ride (Nolan) 1.59
06. That’s Enough (Coates) 2.41
07. I Still Miss Someone  (J.Cash/R.Cash) 2.34
08. Don’t Take Your Guns To Town (Cash) 3.03
09. I’d Rather Die Young (Smith/Vaughn/Wood) 2.29
10. Pickin’ Time (Cash) 1.58
11. Shepherd Of My Heart (Carson) 2.10
12. Suppertime (Stanphill) 2.50
13. Oh What A Dream (take one) (Cash) 2.01
14. Mama’s Baby (Cash) 2.22
15. Fool’s Hall Of Fame (Freeman/Wolfe) 2.10
16. I’ll Remember You (Cash) 2.07
17. Cold Shoulder (Hudgins) 1.55
18. Walkin’ The Blues (Cash/Lunn) 2.11


Chuck Berry – One Dozen Berrys (1958)

FrontCover1One Dozen Berrys is Chuck Berry’s second studio album. It was released in 1958 under Chess Records.

This album published in both UK and US only as LP record in 1958.

Chuck Berry’s second album is ever so slightly more sophisticated than its predecessor. Although One Dozen Berrys is hooked around a pair of hit singles, “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Rock & Roll Music,” most of what’s here doesn’t really sound too much like either of those songs — rather, the other ten tracks each constitute a close-up look at some individual component of the types of music that goes into brewing up the Chuck Berry sound. Thus, the slow instrumental “Blue Feeling” is a look at the blues sound that Berry initially proposed to bring to Chess Records; “How You’ve Changed” presents him in a slow ballad, singing in a manner closer to Nat “King” Cole than to any rock & roller of the era; and “Lajaunda” shows off his love of Latin music. “Rocking at the Philharmonic” is a rippling guitar/piano workout, a compendium of the sounds that lay beneath those hit singles, and a killer showcase not only for Berry, but also for Lafayette Leake at the ivories, and also a decent showcase for Willie Dixon’s bass playing. “Oh Baby Doll” is a return to the beat of ChuckBerry02“Maybellene,” this time carrying a lyric that’s more sensual (in a bluesy sense) than rollicking fun, though it comes out that way amid the pounding beat and Berry’s crunchy, angular guitar solo. “Guitar Boogie” is yet another guitar instrumental, one of four on this album, leading one to wonder if he was running short of first-rate lyrics in mid-1957, amid his frantic pace of recording and touring — no matter, for the piece is a killer track, a pumping, soaring working out for Berry’s guitar that had some of the most impressive pyrotechnics that one was likely to hear in 1957; what’s more, the track was good enough to form the template for Jeff Beck’s more ornate adaptation, “Jeff’s Boogie,” from the 1966 album Roger the Engineer (aka The Yardbirds aka Over Under Sideways Down). The best of the album’s tracks is easily “Reelin’ & Rockin’,” which is also just about the dirtiest song that Berry released in all of the 1950s (and for many years after that), essentially a blues-boogie recasting, on a more overt level, of the extended feats of sexual intercourse alluded to in Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.” The one totally weird track here is “Low Feeling,” which is nothing but “Blue Feeling” doctored in the studio by Leonard and Phil Chess, slowed down to half speed and edited to create a 12th track — doing that to the original was bad enough, but sticking it on the same LP with the original was downright bizarre. And the album’s closer, “It Don’t Take But a Few Minutes,” is a reminder of just how much Berry owed to country music for his sound, and explains, to anyone coming in late, how he could have been mistaken for a white hillbilly in those early days, based on the sound of this song and “Maybelline.” (by Bruce Eder)

Fred Below (drums)
Chuck Berry (vocals, guitar)
Willie Dixon (bass)
Ebbie Hardy (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Lafayette Leake (piano)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar)

01. Sweet Little Sixteen 3.03
02. Blue Feeling 3.04
03. La Jaunda 3.14
04. Rockin’ At The Philharmonic 3.23
05. Oh Baby Doll 2.37
06. Guitar Boogie 2.21
07. Reelin’ And Rockin’ 3.18
08. In-Go 2.29
09. Rock And Roll Music 2.34
10. How You’ve Changed 2.49
11. Low Feeling” (same recording as “Blue Feeling”, but with the tape playback slowed) 3.09
12. “It Don’t Take But A Few Minutes 2.31

All songs written by Chuck Berry

** (coming soon)

Annie Ross – Sing A Song With Mulligan (1958)

FrontCover1Annie Ross (born 25 July 1930) is a Scottish jazz singer, chanteuse and actress, best known as a member of the vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.

She was born as Annabelle Allan Short, in Mitcham, London, the daughter of Scottish vaudevillians Jack Short and May Dalziel Short (née Allan). Her brother was entertainer Jimmy Logan.[2] At the age of four, she went to New York in an immigration ship with her family; she later recalled that they “got the cheapest ticket, which was right in the bowels of the ship”.

Shortly after arriving in the city, she won a token contract with MGM through a children’s radio contest run by Paul Whiteman. She subsequently moved with her aunt Ella Logan to Los Angeles, and her mother, father and brother returned to Scotland to be with the rest of their family. At the age of seven, she sang “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond” in Our Gang Follies of 1938, and played Judy Garland’s sister in Presenting Lily Mars (1943).At the age of 14, she wrote the song “Let’s Fly”, which won a songwriting contest and was recorded by Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers. At the end of tenth grade, she left school, changed her name to Annie Ross, and went to Europe, where she quickly established her singing career. She decided to change her surname to Ross on the plane trip to Prestwick; in a 2011 interview, she said: “My aunt was very fanciful and she said I had an Irish grandmother called Ross, so that’s where that surname came from”.

AnnieRoss01In 1952, Ross met Prestige Records owner Bob Weinstock, who asked her to write lyrics to a jazz solo, in a similar way to King Pleasure, a practice that would later be known as vocalese. The next day, she presented him with “Twisted”, a treatment of saxophonist Wardell Gray’s 1949 composition of the same name, a classic example of the genre. The song, first released on the 1952 album King Pleasure Sings/Annie Ross Sings, was an underground hit, and resulted in her winning Down Beat’s New Star award. Her first solo album, Singin’ and Swingin’ (1952), was recorded in New York with members of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Other albums include Annie by Candlelight (1956), Sings a Song with Mulligan (1958) with baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker on trumpet, A Gasser! (1959) with Zoot Sims, In Hoagland (1981) with Georgie Fame and Hoagy Carmichael, and Music Is Forever (1995) featuring Tommy Flanagan on piano.

AnnieRoss02In February 1956, the British music magazine NME reported that Ross’s song “I Want You to Be My Baby” was banned by the BBC, due to the lyric “Come upstairs and have some loving”.

She recorded seven albums with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross between 1957 and 1962. Their first, Sing a Song of Basie (1957), was to have been performed by a group of singers hired by Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert with Ross brought in only as vocal consultant. It was decided that the trio should attempt to record the material and overdub all the additional vocals themselves, but the first two tracks were recorded and deemed unsatisfactory so they ditched the dubbing idea. The resulting album was a success, and the trio became an international hit. Over the next five years, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross toured all over the world and recorded such albums as Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross! (aka The Hottest New Group in Jazz, 1959), Sing Ellington (1960), High Flying (1962), and The Real Ambassadors (1962), written by Dave Brubeck and featuring Louis Armstrong and Carmen McRae.

Ross left the group in 1962[8] and, in 1964, opened her own nightclub in London. Annie’s Room featured performances by Joe Williams, Nina Simone, Stuff Smith, Blossom Dearie, Anita O’Day, Jon Hendricks, Erroll Garner, and Ross herself. A compilation album of Ross’s 1965 performances from Annie’s Room was released on CD in 2006.

AnnieRoss03Her film roles include Liza in the Hammer film Straight On till Morning (1972), Claire in Alfie Darling (1976), Vera Webster in Superman III (1983), Mrs. Hazeltine in Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Loretta Cresswood in Pump Up the Volume (1990), Lydia in Blue Sky (1994), and Tess Trainer in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993).

She provided the speaking voice for Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man (1973), and Ingrid Thulin’s singing voice in Salon Kitty (1976). On stage, Ross appeared in Cranks (1955) in both London and New York City, The Threepenny Opera (1972) with Vanessa Redgrave, The Seven Deadly Sins at the Royal Opera House, Kennedy’s Children (1975) at Arts Theatre, London, Side by Side by Sondheim, and in the Joe Papp production of The Pirates of Penzance (1982) with Tim Curry.

In the early 1990s, Ross starred in the horror films Basket Case 2 and Basket Case 3: The Progeny.

She performs regularly at the Metropolitan Room (34 W. 22nd Street) in New York, with Tardo Hammer on piano, Neal Miner on bass, Jimmy Wormworth on drums, and Warren Vache on trumpet.

In 1949, Ross had a brief affair with drummer Kenny Clarke. This affair produced a son, Kenny Clarke Jr, who was brought up by Clarke’s family. During her time with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, she became addicted to heroin, and in the late 1950s had an affair with the comedian Lenny Bruce, who was also having drug problems. By 1960, Carol Sloane was regularly substituting for her on tour. After a performance by the trio in London in May 1962, she stayed there to kick the habit.

AnnieRoss05AIn 1963, she married the actor Sean Lynch; they divorced in 1975, and he died in a car crash soon afterwards. By that time, she had also lost her home and declared bankruptcy.
She became a US citizen in 2001.

Ross has received numerous awards and honours, including the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame (2009), the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters’ Award (2010), and the MAC Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011).

In July 2006 a one-woman play entitled TWISTED: The Annie Ross Story by Brian McGeachan premiered at The Space Theatre in London, starring Verity Quade. It focused on her stormy relationship with her aunt, Broadway legend Ella Logan, her brief affair with the comedian Lenny Bruce and her addiction to heroin. The play transferred to The Brockley Jack Theatre in London that same year, with Ross being played by Betsy Pennington.

AnnieRoss07A documentary about Ross’s life, entitled No One But Me, premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2012.

The original recording of her song “Twisted” was used in the introduction to the 1997 Woody Allen film Deconstructing Harry.(by wikipedia)

Singer Annie Ross’ first solo album after joining Lambert, Hendricks & Ross finds her at the peak of her powers. Ross is joined by two versions of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with either Chet Baker or Art Farmer on trumpet, Bill Crow or Henry Grimes on bass, and drummer Dave Bailey. Annie Ross is at her best (and most appealing) on “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face,” “Give Me the Simple Life,” “How About You,” and “The Lady’s in Love With You,” but all the selections are quite rewarding and her interplay with baritonist Mulligan is consistently memorable. This date plus its follow-up A Gasser are both essential. (by Scott Yanow)

Recorded New York 25 September 1958 (01 – 07.)
Recorded New York 11 & 12 December 1957 (08. – 16.)

Dave Bailey (drums)
Chet Baker (trumpet pn 07. 16.)
Bill Crow (bass on 01. – 06.)
Art Farmer (trumpet on 01. – 06.)
Henry Grimes (bass on 07. – 16)
Gerry Mulligan (saxophone)
Annie Ross (vocals)

01. I Feel Pretty (Bernstein) 3.33
02. I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face (Lowe/Lerner) 3:01
03. All Of You (Porter) 2.20
04. Give Me The Simple Life (Blum/Ruby) 3.36
05. This Is Always (Gordon/Warren) 4.22
06. My Old Flame (Johnston/Coslow) 3-52
07. This Time The Dream’s On Me (Arlen/Mercer) 3.25
08. Let There Be Love (Grant/Rand) 3.45
09. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (Koehler/Arlen) 3.42
10. How About You? (Lane/Freed) 2.53
11. I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan(Schwartz/Dietz) 2.26
12. This Is Always (Alternative Version) (Gordon/Warren) 4.01
13. It Don’t Mean A Thing (Ellington/Mills) 2.11
14. The Lady’s In Love With You (Lane/Loesser.) 2.27
15. You Turned The Tables On Me (Alter/Mitchell( 3.27
16. I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face (alternative version) (Lowe/Lerner) 3.06



AnnieRoss04In the studio with Chet Baker + Gerry Mulligan