Sinatra described himself sometimes as "the last of the saloon singers." One of HIS favorite singers - and one who can rightly claim that title, along with select few others - is Sylvia Syms. Syms maintained what Sinatra let dissipate by/with megastardom - she sang the Great American Songbook, with all the pages bookmarked to the songs about Love, specifically the Lack Of & Search For It, sung with a small combo - like one would see in a saloon, club, bistro or hole-in-the-wall bar. Syms has a deep, husky but genial voice, sounding a bit like Ella Fitzgerald in her low-register mode.
She has the dusky seen-it-all quality of Carmen McRae, but I think she reminds me of the velvety, billowing tones of "Little" Jimmy Scott. High points here are an achingly soulful take on Benny Carter's "Lonely Woman" and the droll upper-crust angst of Cole Porter's "Down In The Depths on the 90th Floor." Her back-up is spare and sensitive - (under-appreciated) ace players Don Elliott, Al Cohn (wonderful Lester-ian solos), Barbara Carroll and Joe Shulman provide shade, support & swing throughout.