Sessions Archive

Dinah Washington – Back to the Blues – Parlophone/ PurePleasure vinyl

Dinah Washington – Back to the Blues – Parlophone/ PurePleasure vinyl

Dinah Washington – Returning to her roots… Dinah Washington – Back to the Blues – Parlophone/ PurePleasure PPAN SR 25189 – stereo vinyl (1963/2016) ****: (Dinah Washington – vocals, Fred Norman – arranger and conductor; backed by largely unknown artists with exception of Eddie Chamblee and Illinois Jacquet on tenor sax, and Billy Butler on guitar. Trumpeter is possibly Joe Newman) Towards the end of her career, songstress Dinah Washington was panned by some critics for recording weak pop music with overly commercial string backing. Washington’s inimitable voice overcame these limitations but her reputation still suffered. Recorded a little over a year before her tragic death at age 39, Dinah returned to her blues roots, backed by a sympathetic big band led by Fred Norman, on Back to the Blues. She was clearly back in her element and the strings and background voices do not distract from her presentation. The choice of material is largely traditional. The boutique audiophile label PurePleasure, out of England, has recently re-released this album on 180 gm vinyl remastered by their ace engineer, Ray Staff. The acoustics are more than adequate for the time period, and the stereo separation brings no complaints. This LP provides […]

Lisa Hilton – Nocturnal – Ruby Slippers

Lisa Hilton – Nocturnal – Ruby Slippers

Exploring the human “experience” with Lisa Hilton… Lisa Hilton – Nocturnal – Ruby Slippers 1020, 51:34 (1/22/16) ***1/2: (Lisa Hilton – piano; Antonio Sanchez – drums; J.D. Allen – tenor sax; Terell Stafford – trumpet and Flugelhorn; Gregg August: bass) Lisa Hilton’s new CD explores human emotions that often emerge during late evening personal reflections. Whether it be issues of love, illness, or abandonment, Hilton’s compositions and melodies bear repeat listening sessions. I found myself returning to this CD several times both in the intimate listening space of car audio as well as in quiet evening home audio settings. Hilton is backed by a front line of accomplished stars: Terell Stafford and J.D. Allen, who contribute to the moodiness that brings on active thought. “A Spark in the Night” would be at home in a detective noir movie as Allen and Stafford support Hilton’s catchy theme. “Seduction” is blues-based and haunting. “Whirlwind” has a bees nest of activity with the horns leading the way and August’s bass providing an active pulse. “Willow Weep for Me” has a sumptuous arrangement and Terell is a perfect choice for taking the lead on this classic track. The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” is […]