One of the hippest female jazz singers of the late 1940s and beyond was Jackie Cain. Jackie had an upbeat wholesomeness and sly sensibility that seemed to come naturally. When Jackie met pianist Roy Kral in Charlie Ventura's bop band of 1948, they married and the pair became a successful duo act in clubs throughout the country. Roy came up with the most beautiful chord voicings and arrangements, not to mention a warm, loving voice, while Jackie always found the smartest hot notes. They rehearsed tirelessly to find just the right swinging sound on each song they took on.
A big turning point in their early career was meeting songwriters Fran Landesman and Tommy Wolf, who wrote Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most and many other conversational songs that Jackie and Roy championed and recorded. Jackie and Roy's material was always friendly and uplifting without being commercial. That was Jackie's doing, and many legendary female singers and musicians I've interviewed over the years have had only admiration for her and her pioneering singing style and vocal ability.
To read my five-part JazzWax interview with Jackie in 2009, start with Part 1 here (the link to the next part can be found above the red date at the top of each post). Roy died in 2002 and Jackie died in 2014. She was an absolute joy to interview and was as warm and sunny and as open during our conversations as her singing delivery.
Roaming around YouTube yesterday, I found these two videos of Jackie and Roy that I hadn't seen before (I've included two more so you'll have a fine sense of what made them special):
Here's Jackie and Roy on Dinah Shore's Chevy Show on NBC in May 1961. Dig the notes Jackie chooses...
And here's Jackie and Roy at the 1998 Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Awards...
As a bonus, here's Jackie and Roy with Charlie Venture in October 1948 singing Euphoria...
And here's Jack and Roy singing Tommy Wolf's You Smell So Good in May 1955
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