This carefully-selected group of beautiful ballads displays the warmly emotional Clooney voice in a variety of settings during her Concord years, starting with the 1977 "Crush on You." Sympathetic piano support is provided by long-time music director John Oddo and Nat Pierce. There are three intimate duos: Falling In Love Again" (made infamous by Marlene Dietrich) with Oddo, "One For My Baby" with Ed Bickert, and "I Wish You Love" with Bucky Pizzarelli. "Too Long At the Fair" features Oddo, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton. For the most part, the groups are small and use one or two horns, allowing for soft backgrounds and lyrical solos by Warren Vaché, Scott Hamilton and Dan Barrett. Billy Holiday is honored by a haunting treatment of "Don't Explain" which leads off with Monty Budwig's bowed bass and includes a sensitive contribution by Hamilton.
I only heard Rosemary Clooney in person twice - first with sister Betty and the Tony Pastor Orchestra and later accompanied by John Otto at the Main Street Jazz Festival in Columbia, SC. Rosie, I don't know about your staying too long at the fair but you weren't with us long enough. These timeless performances are a gift to remember.
Note:Concord's "Ballad Essentials" series also includes CDs featuring Gene Harris, Carol Sloane, George Shearing, Carmen McRae, Susannah McCorkle, Scott Hamilton, Jim Hall, Ernestine Anderson, Monty Alexander and Kenny Burrell.