The high-point of singer Jackie Paris's recording career came in November 1955. Over the course of three days, Paris recorded Jackie Paris for the Wing label, a Mercury subsidiary (the album also is known as Songs by Paris). Paris's voice was at its romantic club-cool peak, but even more impressive was the arranger—Manny Albam—and the players on the three sessions. They were some of New York's finest.
There Will Never Be Another You, Wrap Your Trouble in Dreams, Indiana and My Kind of Love featured Sam Marowitz and Hal McKusick (as); Frank Socolow and Eddie Wasserman (ts); Al Epstein (bar); Bill Triglia (p); Barry Galbraith (g); Milt Hinton (b) and Osie Johnson (d), with Albam conducting.
The lusher brass and strings dates included That Old Devil Called Love, I Can't Get Started, Goodnight My Love, Strange, Heart of Gold, Cloudy Morning, Heaven Can Wait and Whispering Grass featured Romeo Penque (fl,oboe,eng-hrn,b-cl); Janet Putnam (harp); Bill Triglia (p); Barry Galbraith (g); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson (d) five strings and Albam conducting. [Photo of Milt Hinton above courtesy of NPR]
Don't Hurt the Girl and Tell Me Something Sweet were recorded with an unknown band in September 1956. They were for a Mercury release but in later years wound up on the CD versions of the album.
Paris had an unfortunate career. As we know from director Raymond De Felitta's film 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris, one of jazz's most exquisite documentaries, Paris should have been much a bigger name. But his pushy personality and outsized ego kept getting in the way. Once his record-company and club connections were sufficiently shredded, Paris found his opportunities exhausted. Paris, like many jazz artists, forgot that they ultimately are in a commercial line of work in which their livelihoods depend on people paying money for what they do. In order for that to happen, a certain amount of affability and kindness is necessary for others to make those opportunities available to you, no matter how special you may think you are. It can't be helped.
On Songs by Jackie Paris, the singer's voice was warm, hip and embracing. Every note was splendidly articulated, perfectly phrased and seductively delivered. Unfortunately for Paris, the album may have marked the beginning of the end for him. Unable to capitalize on his past accomplishments, Paris stood his ground and slid downward at a snail's pace over the next 50 years. Fortunately, we have this album and others.
Jackie Paris died in 2004.
JazzWax tracks: Here's the 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris documentary trailer...
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