Monday, October 10, 2011

Lee Wiley - A Hundred Years from Today

A wonderful, now largely overlooked singer. She was about fifty when this album was recorded in 1957. It's interesting to me how some singers come across as jazz artists even though, as with Lee Wiley, the impression is made almost entirely by how the melody & rhythm are nudged here & there. They sound more in sync with their bands, musicians respond to them with sensitive playing, as Billy Butterfield does here on trumpet.  There's an absence of acting, of dramatizing the song lyrics, even a sense of slight detachment, as if they are engaging a song while at the same time observing how it unfolds.   So there's a line of beautiful female singers: Wiley (who began recording in 1931),  the incomparable Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day, June Christie, Chris Connors, Jeri Southern.

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