Jazz Casual: Vocals, Vol. 1 - Mcrae/Torme/Rushing

Jazz Casual: Vocals, Vol. 1 - Mcrae/Torme/Rushing

DVD (Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono)


This DVD compiles three separate broadcasts from Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual TV series, all of which were previously issued as individual VHS tapes by Rhino. The first segment kicks off with Carmen McRae perched on a stool belting out a confident version of "I'm Gonna Lock My Heart." Her unique approach to "Love for Sale" is fascinating, and she takes over the piano during the closing excerpt of "Exactly Like You." She is engaging in her interview with Gleason, explaining that it's "difficult to sing a song exactly the way it is written and inject your personality," and also bemoaning that a talented singer like Lurleen Hunter is unjustly overlooked by the recording industry. She is quite charming as she talks directly into the camera to her unseen audience to introduce each number, and kids around with pianist Norman Simmons between numbers. Mel Tormé was quite used to television and performing live, so he is quite comfortable in the setting of Gleason's studio. After Gleason's awkward start of his interview, Tormé takes over the discussion of jazz vs. pop singing with enthusiasm and even discusses a number of singers: Mark Murphy (not considered a jazz singer by Tormé), Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Anita O'Day (though he says he doesn't care for her intonation), Frank Sinatra ("not a jazz singer but he can swing"), and Bob Dorough, who clearly fascinates him. Tormé performs Dorough's rockish "Comin' Home Baby" and points out that it is indeed jazz. Tormé's take of "Dat Dere," with the very funny childlike lyrics written by Oscar Brown Jr. to Bobby Timmons' hard bop classic, is a treat. Tormé takes over from pianist Gary Lang to do a very enjoyable take of "When Sunny Gets Blue," then wraps his segment with a brief up-tempo version of "Route 66," featuring his sensational scat vocals, that unfortunately is faded before its conclusion. Jimmy Rushing's appearance on Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual is the most unusual, because he accompanies his vocals on piano without any additional musicians, though he evidently made no commercial recordings other than as a singer. He explains during the interview segments that he had played the instrument since he was young, but because he only could play in three keys, he knew that his opportunities to play keyboard would be very limited, so he concentrated on singing, though he also shares that Count Basie "couldn't play the blues" when he first came to Kansas City. His bluesy vocals are matchless, and his piano playing is very effective. "Goin' to Chicago" and "Good Morning Blues," two of the songs most associated with him, are quite enjoyable. But his best numbers include the melancholy "Am I to Blame" and the hilarious "Trix Ain't Walkin' No More," in which Rushing narrates both the male and female roles. Gleason conducts one of his best interviews of the series with Rushing, though the talking portions run so long that less than half of the approximately 30-minute program is devoted to Rushing's performances. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/16/2001
UPC: 0603497601721
Rating: NR
Source: Rhino
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time: 1:30:00

Special Features

5.1 Surround Sound or original Mono; Animated menus

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Carmen McRae
0. Chapters
1. "I'm gonna lock my heart|00:02:42|}
2. Talking with Carmen [6:24]
3. Trouble is a man [3:32]
4. If you never fall in love with me [4:42]
5. Round midnight [5:33]
6. Love for sale [5:14]
7. Exactly like you [:42]
Mel Tormé
0. Chapters
1. We've got a world that swings [2:08]
2. Talking with Mel [7:25]
3. "Comin' home baby" [3:50]
4. Sidney's soliloquy [2:35]
5. Dat dere [3:06]
6. When Sunny gets blue [3:59]
7. Route 66 [2:10]
Jimmy Rushing
0. Chapters
1. Goin' to Chicago [2:23]
2. Am I to blame [4:28]
3. Baby don't tell on me [:37]
4. Good morning blues [7:15]
5. See what tomorrow brings [1:59]
6. Trix ain't walkin' no more [5:31]
7. How long blues [6:58]

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