Posts Tagged ‘Carmen McRae’

Carmen McRae – The Best Is Yet To Come

(click song title above to listen)

“Blues is to jazz what yeast is to bread…without it, it’s flat.” – Carmen McRae

Carmen backed up that sentiment night after night during a long and illustrious career as one of the most artful singers in the business. It’s on full display in this week’s top tune, the signature Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh-penned classic McRae swings so beautifully on a 1991 tribute album to Sarah Vaughan, her recently deceased friend.

The sessions are backed by the Shirley Horn Trio and would be the final recordings of Carmen’s career. The album is widely considered the perfect swan song for McRae after a run of over 60 albums and a half-century of brilliant live performances, and we couldn’t agree more!

JazzFest2091767 300x249 Carmen McRae   The Best Is Yet To Come

Contact & Licensing:
Published by Notable Music Co. ASCAP (Cy Coleman). Contact: Damon Booth /
Administered by Downtown Music Publishing
Contact: Sean McGraw /
Published by Carwin Music Co. Inc ASCAP (Carolyn Leigh)
Administered by Sony/ATV – EMI U. Catalog Inc.
Master controlled by Sony Music Group

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Carmen McRae – I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life

(click song title above to listen)

Carmen McRae is widely regarded as an artistic equal to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday and she had a career that spanned five decades. Many consider her 1964 album, Bittersweet recorded for Mort Fega’s small independent label, Focus, her finest. We agree 100%, it’s one of our favorite late night/early morning records to put on the turntable.

Carmen McRae won an amateur talent contest at the Apollo Theater in her native Harlem neighborhood where she was discovered by jazz pianist Teddy Wilson. Trough Wilson, McRae would eventually meet Billie Holiday who became her biggest influence and who later recorded Carmen’s original composition “Dream of Life”. McRae later recalled, “If Billie Holiday had never existed, I probably wouldn’t have either”.

During a long and distinguished career McRae was recognized as a supremely insightful interpreter of lyrics. “Every word is very important to me,” she said. “Lyrics come first, then the melody. “The lyric of a song I might decide to sing must have something that I can convince you with. It’s like an actress who selects a role that contains something she wants to portray”.

On this week’s Top Tune, with her signature and soulful behind-the-beat vocal style, McRae accompanies herself on piano on the defiant “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life”. A song that lyricist Joe McCarthy initially envisioned as an uptempo, smart fast tune in the vein of “Just One of Those Things” until composer Cy Coleman talked him out of it. Coleman insisted “No. No. No. Joe. No you understand, it’s a ballad!” (excerpt from Andry Propst’s upcoming book, You Fascinate Me So, The Life & Times of Cy Coleman). Nat King Cole would prove Coleman correct and give the song its’ debut recording in 1957. In Carmen’s hands a few years later, it’s just as (bitter)sweet. Hope you dig it!

625621 300x300 Carmen McRae   Im Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life

Contact & Licensing Info:

Written by Cy Coleman & Joseph A. McCarthy. Published by Notable Music Co. Inc (ASCAP) contact: Damon Booth, Administered by Downtown Music Publishing contact: and Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP).
Master Controlled by Warner Music Group

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