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Sings Maxine Sullivan by Sally Stark

Tribute albums from one jazz singer to another are always an interesting proposition; when the two vocalists involved are both, ahem, somewhat undersung as is the case with Sally Stark Sings Maxine Sullivan, that makes the document all the more fascinating. Sally Stark is a veteran of Broadway and television and this release marks her recorded debut as a solo singer. Maxine Sullivan was one of her formative influences, so a date of songs associated with the late singer active from the '30s to '80s seems auspicious.

Stark's vocal style is direct and unpretentious. Not that there isn't any artifice involved, but it would be fair to say that she is in the tradition of singers such as Jo Stafford and Billie Holiday that use a conversational delivery. Her vocals are nicely framed by a group that includes pianist and arranger Mike Abene and Sullivan's former trumpeter Warren Vache, who plays delightfully on several numbers.

With the Sullivan revival come several fine tunes that don't get as much modern reading as they perhaps should. Johnny Mercer's "Harlem Butterfly" for one, Harry Warren's "Spring Isn't Everything" for another. The Scottish folk ballad "Loch Lommand" which provided Ms. Sullivan with a top ten hit in 1937 closes this set, performed as a slow, almost haunting duet between Abene and Stark. Sally Stark Sings Maxine Sullivan will whet your appetite to hear more music from both artists.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Sally Stark
  • CD Title: Sings Maxine Sullivan
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Sal Marg Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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