Post Golden Age

Image Denise PerrierDenise Perrier (1939-2021) is one of the foremost blues and jazz vocalists in the San Francisco Bay Area. In a career spanning over three decades, Perrier has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East.  She is known for her tributes to Dinah Washington and Bessie Smith.

Image of Mary StallingsMary Stallings (1939) is a jazz vocalist in the classic tradition. She doesn’t do a lot of fancy tricks but imbues her repertoire with wisdom, a well of emotional depth, and logic of the heart.

Image of Rebecca Parris

Rebecca Parris (1951-2018) was a husky-voiced jazz singer known for both her blistering scat runs and her deeply affecting interpretations of ballads.

image of DIanne ReevesDianne Reeves (1956) can effortlessly sing in whatever style she wants with her far-reaching range - rhythm-and-blues, gospel, Latin or pop. But jazz always was—and continues to be—her musical foundation.

Image of DIane KrallDiana Krall (1964- ) is living proof that “less is more.” Her vocal style is minimalist, her voice contralto, creating an appealing “romantic” sound. She has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide and performs here and abroad.

Why Doris Day reigns as one of the great jazz singers
By Howard Reich
Chicago Tribune
Jul 03, 2019

Forget, for a moment, Doris Day’s famously bubbly persona in lighthearted Hollywood comedies and TV shows. Forget, too, her image as a purveyor of mercilessly upbeat hits of an earlier era, such as “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera).”

For beneath all the good cheer and easy-to-hum songs, beneath the high-toned exterior and the vanilla sentimentality lurked a superb jazz singer struggling to get out.

Explore Day’s best work (“Day by Day/Day by Night;” “Golden Girl” for example) there’s no mistaking where her heart and musical tastes lie. She sings of the glories of jazz and throws off remarkably fleet riffs alongside instrumental virtuosos in “Cuttin’ Capers” (1949). And she duets brilliantly with sublime trumpeter Harry James in “The Very Thought of You” and “Too Marvelous for Words” (1950), both from Day’s starring role opposite Kirk Douglas in “Young Man with a Horn” (one of the great – if slightly flawed – jazz movies, very loosely inspired by the story of doomed cornetist Bix Beiderbecke).

Indeed, it’s worth noting that some of Day’s most compelling Hollywood scenes unfold in jazz settings, whether she’s improvising with a trio in “Romance on the High Seas” or telling the dark story of jazz singer Ruth Etting in “Love Me or Leave Me” (1955).

It’s in the great repertory, however, that Day’s gifts fully blossom. When she gets to the bridge of another hit, “Secret Love” (1953), from the film “Calamity Jane,” the smoky incantations of her opening eventually give way to a burst of luminescence like nothing else in music of this era and genre. No one turns up the heat on a bridge like Day, and her recap of that passage ups the intensity still more.

On the rare occasion when she gets to sing with piano alone, as in “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” (1955), from “Love Me or Leave Me,” we hear not only another soaring bridge but also a three-in-the-morning, jazz-tinged world weariness long the province of Sinatra himself.
It’s the jazz-swing ethos that defines Day’s greatest achievements and serves as subtext to her most accomplished pop hits.

Which is why her recordings still enchant.
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The Legacy of Doris Day by Joan Merrill
Published in Jazz Journal June 2019

“She never won an Oscar, never won a Grammy. But, except for perhaps Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, no other American entertainer left such an impressive legacy as Doris Day. She did 39 movies, 600 recordings which include 18 albums and five seasons of the sitcom The Doris Day Show, plus television specials.

Nearly 60 percent of Day’s movies topped $100 million in domestic gross box office sales, according to Ultimate Movie Rankings. She was the No. 1 box office female star for four years - matched only by Shirley Temple - in the 1960s. Two of Day’s songs won Oscars: “Secret Love” from Calamity Jane (1953) and “Que Sera, Sera” from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).

Let’s take a closer look at her legacy. To read the rest of the article, click here.


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