"This music says so much, particularly in revealing the warmth these musicians feel for each other, their interest in experimentation, and their love of their craft. In their choice of fine songs, performed in new and different settings, they invite you to become involved. Listen, and you will understand and appreciate the shade of difference here." - Marian McPartland, liner notes
In the '40s, Helen Merrill entered the professional ranks as a band singer, but soon was bitten by the be-bop bug sitting in with Charlie Parker and Bud Powell among others. Her warm, smoky, expressive voice and delivery were cool and intimate, perfect for the new era. In the '50s, she made seminal sides for Emarcy including sessions with Clifford Brown and Gil Evans.
By the end of the '50s with her sound fell out of fashion, she moved to Rome (no tears of sympathy, please) where she continued to prosper internationally. Upon her return, she formed an alliance with the versatile pianist Dick Katz who was the pianist , arranger and producer of two of the greatest albums Merrill ever recorded.
Originally issued as The Feeling Is Mutual and A Shade Of Difference on the Milestone label, these '60s albums feature a core group of Thad Jones, Katz, Jim Hall, Ron Carter and Pete LaRoca or Elvin Jones. The material matches the band with a superb, often obscure selection of standards by everyone from Richard Rodgers to Alec Wilder and jazz tunes that run that gamut from Ellington to Ornette Coleman.
These albums - milestones in her career and magnificent by any standard - are now available on one Mosaic CD.
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