SMITH Carrie 1978

Carrie Smith was born August 25, 1941, in Fort Gaines, GA. Despite making her debut at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival while a member of a New Jersey church choir, she did not truly emerge on the jazz circuit until the early 70's, in the company of Big "Tiny" Little. In November of 1974, Smith's riveting performance as Bessie Smith (no relation) in Dick Hyman's Carnegie Hall production of "Satchmo Remembered" brought her fame throughout the international musical community. Soon, she began touring as a solo act, and in a short time began recording as well; still, despite subsequent performances in conjunction with the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra, Tyree Glenn, and the World's Greatest Jazz Band, Smith remained little more than a cult figure in the U.S., proving better received in Europe. While rooted firmly in the blues and gospel, she was a singer of considerable range and depth. Despite never earning significant success, she remained an active figure both on-stage and in the studio through the 1990s.

JOHNSON Budd ts, Art FARMER flg, Richard WYANDS p, George DUVIVIER b, Richard PRATT dr,

Here are the liner notes written by George Duvivier, the bass player.

Here is Carrie Smith, a singer's singer, who needs no introduction to an ever increasing following both here at home and abroad. here is a singer capable of holding an audience captive during the performance of any given song and being accorded many standing ovations.
All of the above can be said without feeling like one of the late P.T. Barnum's publicity agents. I kn ow whereof I speak, as I have been fortunate in working with Carrie from time to time over the past four years. I shall always remember the four-week tour of the Soviet Union with the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra: it was truly an all-star aggregation, under the baton of Dick Hyman. All the concerts were sold out well in advance of our arrival in Russia. our audiences numbered about ten thousand people per concert, and for them we played the music of louis Armstrong. The first third of the program was always received with enthusiasm, then Carrie would be introduced, not with a roaring band intro into her opening number, but with a simple abnnouncement and a walk-on to the accompaniement of Dick Hyman's harmonium. I found myself wondering how many vocalists would have dare to open their part of a concert in such a manner. Well, Carrie dared, and with Dick's superb accompaniment St Louis Blues never sounded better. From there on it was a joy-vocals, instrumentals, features, until the end of Sleepy Down South, and the eruption of the audience as Carrie finished with Satch's famous "Oh Yea-a-a-ahh!". Each concert closed with this type of tumultuous ovation, in large part due to Carrie's singing. A short time later, I saw her perform at the Nice Jazz Festival with the same result.
I toured with Carrie, all too briefly, two years ago with a smaller All-Star group. We made an album in Spain which recently won the Grand Prix du Disque in France.
I hope all my friends in Europe will forgive my demonic chuckle when I contemplate their surprise upon hearing the content of this album. For it is a somewhat different Carrie Smith that appears here. There are lmany who consider Carrie a "stand up" singer and "blues belter". How does the idea of Carrie singing Lush Life grab you? Yes, I quite agree, there are not too many singers who have followed the late Nat King Cole down that devious vocal path. I must admit my surprise when arranger Budd Johnson passed out the arrangements and I read the tittle on my part.
You will find this album contains namy pleasant moments, and a few more surprises, as you follow Carrie through familiar material and new vocal efforts, with the cushion of Budd's arrangements and his tenor sax; Art Farmer's velvety fl├╝gelhorn; Richard Wyand's thoughtful and sympathetic piano accompaniment; Richard Pratt's joyous drums; and yours truly, who thoroughly enjoyed participating in this effort. Settle back and listen to this wonderful singer, as you have never really heard her before. Enjoy!

To be continued...


thomasm said...

I saw Carrie on Broadway in Black And Blue---she stopped the show singing Butter and Egg Man---she is quite the performer in person.

Jazz Miscellanous said...