December 2, 2023
Start Date: November 2, 2023
Final Price: $42.99 (USD)
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A jewel of a jazz performance — Helen Merrill's 1955 debut delivers!
Produced and arranged by Quincy Jones!
Includes noted trumpeter Clifford Brown
Remastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio from the original master tape
Plating and 180-gram pressing by Quality Record Pressings
Tip-on gatefold jacket by Stoughton Printing
Helen Merrill attributed her childhood musical influence to her mother's singing. Truth is, she didn't wait long herself to make a mark as a teenage jazz ingénue, following-up with the notable self-titled LP you have in your hands, newly remastered, and reissued by Analogue Productions.
Helen Merrill arrives, remastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio, and plated and pressed to 180-gram vinyl by the dedicated crew at Quality Record Pressings, supervised by plating expert and general manager Gary Salstrom. No less than an old-style, tip-on Stoughton Printing gatefold jacket would suffice for such a phenomenal-sounding reissue. Rare photographs inside the gatefold originally appeared as sleeve art for the 7-inch singles recorded and released in conjunction with the original 1955 album release.
Helen Merrill was born in New York City on July 21, 1930. Her professional career began at the age of 15 when, after singing at theatres and winning amateur contests, she landed a job as vocalist with Reggie Charles' Band. Merrill made her recording debut in 1952 when she sang "A Cigarette For Company" with the Earl Hines Band; the song was released on the D'Oro label, created specifically to record Hines' band with Merrill. The session was also notable for including vocalist Etta Jones, who was in Hines' band at the time. Merrill was later signed by Mercury Records to their EmArcy label. Helen Merrill is her debut studio album, backed by among others, trumpeter Clifford Brown and bassist/cellist Oscar Pettiford. The legendary Quincy Jones produced and arranged the album when he was just 21-years-old!
The success of Helen Merrill prompted Mercury to sign her for an additional four-album contract. AllMusic reviewer Scott Yanow gave Helen Merrill 4 1/2 stars. "The music is essentially straight-ahead bop, yet the seven standards ... are uplifted by the presence of Merrill (in top form) and Brown." Her success associated Merrill with the first generation of bebop jazz musicians.
Merrill's career continued with recordings and concerts throughout six decades, until the early 2000s. Her emotional, sensual vocal performances, particularly this engaging debut, stand as testament to her immense talent.
Format / LP Vinyl
Barcode / 753088012716
Artist / Helen Merrill
Label / Analogue Productions
Genre / Jazz