Sings Lover Man
When jazz heads get together and speak of divas, the usual suspects-Ella, Sarah, Billie-are checked. Rap a little deeper, and the name that always comes up is Carmen McRae. McRae had all of the "Big Three's" gifts-articulative clarity, intuitive rhythm, emotional cerebrality and much attitude-plus her own unique twist of swing and soul. A true disciple of Mlle. Holiday, Carmen was one of the few singers who, rather than merely imitate, found her own sound-space in Billie's soul. The reissue of Carmen McRae Sings Lover Man, her 1962 tribute to the master, is a timely reminder of the singer's protean artistry. Aided by the charts of pianist Norman Simmons and the mercurial subtlety of bassist Bob Cranshaw, McRae fearlessly revisualized "sacred" Lady Day tunes like "My Man," "God Bless The Child" and "Strange Fruit" in her own aural image. Bonus tracks "If The Moon Turns Green" and "The Christmas Song" underscore her genius. Carmen McRae is the Truth.