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JazzTimes 10: Classic Vocal Jazz Duets

When one plus one equals a sound that's unquantifiable

Helen O’Connell & Bob Eberly: “Tangerine”
Single release, Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra (Decca, 1942); appears on Greatest Hits (Curb, 1991)
Featured vocalists with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly scored a string of major hits at the height of the big-band era, winningly contrasting his somber baritone with her swinging sass. “Green Eyes” was their biggest success but “Tangerine,” with its sharp-witted Johnny Mercer lyric, is their most clever. Eberly takes the first half, tenderly crooning about Tangerine, a fetchingly exotic Argentine beauty. Then, with Dorsey and his licorice stick igniting a breezy foxtrot, O’Connell handily cuts the femme fatale down to size, exposing her for the trumped-up poseur she is.

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Originally Published