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Monday, August 9, 2021

Can't Get Started With You - Jackie Paris


Heart Of Gold

Can't Get Started With You
Featuring Jackie Paris
Cover Photo: Herman Leonard
Wing Jazz MGW-60004

From the back cover: This is Jackie's first LP on Wing. Auspicious though the debut is, we don't expect him to be a stranger to everyone any more than we expect the wonderful mood of these performances to come as a complete surprise; for Jackie, though only 29 years old, is no stranger to success and recognition. 

Originally well known as a singing guitarist (he hasn't played much in recent years) Jacke\ie was discovered by the Mills Brothers, who helped him to get his first job. Then the Army called, and after two years service he was mustered out in 1946, studied guitar at the Scott School and became a singer and instrumentalist with many of the combos that were dotted along with the busy 52nd Street of the late 1940s. Aside from several months on tour as vocalist with the Lionel Hampton band in 1949-50, Jackie has been working night clubs as a single most of the time since then. In 1953 he won the Down Beat critics' poll as the best new male singer of the year.

That Jackie has always been admired and respected by musicians and critics may be attributed to the sincerity and lack of affection in his style, and to the  retention of true jazz roots in his work, even in the most effectively tender of love songs. In case you think that the term "jazz singer" and "ballad singer" may seem contradictory, it might be appropriate to quote a few lines from a column Leonard Feather wrote a few months ago in Down Beat on this subject.

"What, if anything, is a jazz singer? Even Al Jolson laid claim to this ever-abused title. Since the qualities that earn acclaim for instrumental poll-winners are their rhythmic, melodic and harmonic talent for improvisation, one could assume that the jazz singers are those who come closest to bringing these qualities to bear on a performance that is tied down to a prescribed set of lyrics qualities that are, for that reason, hard to instill into anything but a bop, scat or other wordless vocal. Or the jazz singers would be those whose lyrics many be set, but whose melodies are as flexible as the blues; or whose tonal quality has something akin to the sounds we like to think as jazz tunes.

"By these standards... the only real jazz singers to be discovered in pop-jazz circles during the last few years have been Jackie Paris, Helen Merrill, Carmen McRae and Joe Williams."

Listen to the way Jackie sings the great songs he chose for his Wing debut and you'll see what these comments mean, and how true it is that Jackie belongs in this elite minority.

The records owe some of their success, too, to the role played by Manny Albam as arranger and conductor. Manny, who has written for countless name bands, assembled an unusual accompaniment for Jackie. On November 28, 1955, when There Will Never Be Another  You, Indiana, and Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams were recorded, he used a five-man saxophone section – Sam Markowitz and Hal McKusick on altos, Frankie Socolow and Ed Wasserman on tenors, Al Epstein on baritone – and a rhythm section with Bill Triglia on piano, Barry Galbraith on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass and Osie Johnson on drums. On November 29 and 30 the orchestra consisted of five-piece string section, Janet Putnam on Harp, the rhythm section, and Romeo Penque. The versatile Mr. Penque plays oboe, English horn, alto flute, and, in Heart Of Gold, a rare instrument known as the contrabass clarinet that adds no little to the colorful tones of the background effects.

Jackie Paris, as you might suspect after reading the composer credits on the label, is friendly with the Fisher family and very partial to their songs. Whispering Grass was Doris Fisher's first hit song, written in collaboration with her father, the late Fred Fisher, in 1942; Doris collaborated with Allan Roberts on That Ole Devil Called Love and her brother, Marvin Fisher, wrote Heart Of Gold and Cloudy Morning.

There Will Never Be Another You
Heaven Can Wait
The Ole Devil Called Love
Whispering Grass, Don't Tell The Trees
Heart Of Gold
I Can't Get Started
Cloudy Morning
Wrap Your Trouble In Dreams
Good Night My Love

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