domingo, 24 de enero de 2010
Pat Thomas: Jazz Patterns (1961) / Desafinado (1963) ... plus
Jazz Patterns, de debut album from obscure Chicagoan jazz singer Patricia "Pat" Thomas, is a pretty hip collection of jazz vocal numbers released on the Strand label in 1961. The record is a bit like Lorez Alexandria's work from the same time, solid all the way through vocally, but with a deeper sense of soul than most other singers of her generation. Pat's vocals are always strong and extremely captivating, giving the impression that, like Sarah Vaughan, she can sing anything. The emphasis here is on ballads and standards, with Thomas putting plenty of feeling into such numbers as 'Mean to Me', 'Almost Like Being in Love', 'There Will Never Be Another You', 'My One and Only Love' and 'Stella By Starlight'. Pat's second album Desafinado (1963), released on MGM, is a bossa-styled classic set thanks to her working with Lalo Schifrin as conductor/arranger, and musicians Paul Horn, Laurindo Almeida, Buddy Clark, and Mel Lewis (the song 'Desafinado' was even made into a Scopitone!). Lalo's using a fair bit of strings on the set, but he also keeps things lean too - a bit in the mode of his own bossa work for Verve during the time, although with Pat's vocals in the lead this time around. Thomas has a strong undercurrent of soul in her work, which is one of the things that really sets this album apart. Schifrin really seems to get this quality of Pat's, and he brings in a good sense of timing in rhythms to present Thomas at her best. Titles include 'Recardo Bossa Nova', 'Carnival', 'To Welcome the Day', 'Could Be', 'Samba De Orfeu', and 'Once Again'. I added two extra tracks, issued as singles at the time, for MGM and Verve respectively. 'Where There's Love There's Hope' (1963) is a classic girl group oldies song written by Ben Raleigh. Pat's vocals are stellar as they fly into ranges you might not think are possible over impeccable arrangements by Claus Ogerman. 'Where There's Love There's Hope' was released as the b-side for 'Home in the Meadow', from John Ford's How the West was Won; a song with a Western theme, so it's nice that this girl group gem was found in such a strange place. The second bonus is an impeccable version of Jerry Ragovoy's classic 'I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face'. Co-written with Chip Taylor, the tune was originally recorded by Baby Washington and would gain several more covers, including by Aretha Franklin and another Ragovoy collaborator, Dusty Springfield; but personally, I'm most partial to this 1964 version by Pat Thomas, with Ragovoy arranging.