Etta Jones – A Soulful Sunday – Live At The Left Bank – Reel To Reel Recordings

by | Jun 4, 2019 | Jazz CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Etta Jones – A Soulful Sunday – Live At The Left Bank – Featuring The Cedar Walton Trio – Limited Edition ( 2000 first pressings ) 180 gram vinyl Reel To Reel Recordings RTRLP 002 53:57****:

( Etta Jones – vocals; Cedar Walton – piano; Sam Jones – bass; Billy Higgins – drums)

It was only a matter of time before the Canadian West Coast  jazz entrepreneur Cory Weeds became involved in the renaissance of the vinyl LP.  With Reel To Reel Recordings, a label that Weeds has co-founded with Zev Feldman of Resonance Records, these two impresarios have embarked on an untapped market of limited edition re-mastered 180 gram vinyl  LPs, focussing on previously unissued live recordings.

Etta Jones – A Soulful Sunday – Live At The Left Bank, is a co-inaugural release with Cannonball Adderley’s Swingin’ In Seattle which was previously reviewed on this site. This outing was recorded live on February 27, 1972,  at the Famous Ballroom in Baltimore Maryland. Beautifully remastered by Bernie Grundman Mastering, the release contains an Extensive Booklet of rare photos, essays, and interviews which adds to the overall production value of the offering. All this is a bonus to the music, which is remarkable.

Side A opens with a very lengthy cut by the Cedar Walton Trio “Theme From Love Story”. This is an intricately structured arrangement packed with forceful energy. Walton’s approach is attentively percussive with strong single note lines, and sure-footed chords than range up and down the keyboard. There is an extensive interlude of robust drumming by Billy Higgins, which forms part of the dialogue with pianist Walton. A terrific opening track.

Etta Jones begins her set with “Sunday” an uptempo relaxed romp. Her voice has a Dinah Washington quality, and she is an advocate for the songs she sings. She follows that with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David number “This Girl’s In Love Wth You”which she opens in a “sotto voce”  bluesy tempo, and shows she is in full command of the material. Cedar Walton and the trio take an extended break after Jones’ first run through of the lyrics. They are an adaptable trio with a gruff approach to the number. Jones closes out the tune with both forcefulness and sensitivity.

Side B starts with “For All We Know” which Jones belts out in her inimitable style with intense command and deliberate purpose. While all the numbers on this side demonstrate Jones’ earthy and assertive style, there are two tracks that are closely associated to her. The first is “You Better Go Now” written by Irvin Graham and Bix Reichner for the Broadway musical New Faces 1936. Jones first recorded this tune in November 1961 and a couple of other times thereafter. Her interpretation here is fiercely self-assured and emotionally evocative.

Her biggest hit was “ Don’t Go To Strangers” which Jones recorded originally in June 1960 for Prestige Records and shortly thereafter it began to pick up juke box play. This changed her life and her recording career. Her version is commanding, forceful, with pacing and brawny effectiveness.

This is an unearthed treasure from a dynamic singer.

Side A: 
Theme from Love Story
Vernon Welsh intro
This Girl’s In Love With You
If You Could See Me Now

Side B: 
For All We Know
Exactly Like You
You Better Go Now
Blow Top Blues
Love Nest
Don’t Go To Strangers

—Pierre Giroux





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