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Helen Merrill – The Nearness Of You (1958/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Helen Merrill – The Nearness Of You (1958/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 37:17 minutes | 332 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © RevOla

“The Nearness of You” is the fifth studio album by American jazz vocalist Helen Merrill. It includes performances of standards from two sessions with completely different lineups of accompanying musicians. The later session from February 21, 1958, features very notable jazz performers such as pianist Bill Evans and bassist Oscar Pettiford.

Alternately breathy and atmospheric or bright and dynamic, Helen Merrill often reaches a bit too far on The Nearness of You, though her distinct style and strong personality may be refreshing to vocal fans tired of the standard versions of standards. Leading two separate sextets – the rather more famous one, with Bill Evans, Bobby Jaspar, Oscar Pettiford, and Jo Jones, appears on only four tracks – Merrill breezes over a raft of mid-tempo standards, with several detours through high-drama territory. Her powerful voice occasionally gets her into trouble, breaking from breathy to brash and often occupying a rather awkward middle ground. Still, her ebullient tone and playful way with “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” “Let Me Love You,” and “All of You” is a treat to hear, and flutist Mike Simpson cuts it up behind her as well. Merrill really shines on the darker material, with just a plucked bass to accompany her on “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise,” and a similarly spare accompaniment on a long, drawn-out tribute to “Summertime” and “I See Your Face Before Me.”


01 – Bye Bye Blackbird
02 – When The Sun Comes Out
03 – I Remember You
04 – Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
05 – Dearly Beloved
06 – Summertime
07 – All Of You
08 – I See Your Face Before Me
14 – Let Me Love You
10 – The Nearness Of You
11 – This Time The Dream’s On Me
12 – Just Imagine

Recorded on December 18-19, 1957 & February 21, 1958 at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago & unnamed studio, New York City.

On Tracks “01, 03-06, 08, 11”:
Helen Merrill – vocals
Mike Simpson – flute
Dick Marx – piano
Fred Rundquist – guitar
Johnny Frigo – double bass
Jerry Slosberg – drums
David Carroll – arranger, conductor

On Tracks “02, 07, 09, 10, 12”:
Helen Merrill – vocals
Bobby Jaspar – flute
Bill Evans – piano
Barry Galbraith – guitar
Oscar Pettiford – double bass
Jo Jones – drums
George Russell – arranger, conductor


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