NASHVILLE, TN - (December 2, 2022) - Hindsight Recordshas announced the release of a new album, Carmen McRae Let There Be Love. The new record is part of the Hindsight Records Reimagined Series, a collection of timeless recordings tastefully enhanced for today’s listeners. This new project was produced by John F. Forbes and executive produced by Thomas Gramuglia. Re-recording was done by John F. Forbes with the Sentimental Pops Orchestra. Stream and download Carmen McRae Let There Be Love on Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Apple Music, Pandora and your favorite digital music platform at https://CarmenMcRae.lnk.to/LetThereLove.
“From the start, I loved the tonality of her voice, which really resonated in my heart. She touched me on an emotional level and gave me an immediate connection, more than most singers. Carmen McRae is like an instrumentalist who can play one note and really have a strong effect on listeners,” shared producer John F. Forbes. He continued by saying, “In this music with her trio, there are not as many leading lines as there are with most singers; instead there are moving chords. That gave her a lot more freedom to phrase and reshape the melodies in her own style. It also meant that I had a bit more freedom in writing the orchestrations, following her ideas rather than sticking overly close to the original themes. Since the music was originally recorded in stereo, unlike the earlier ones in this series, they lent themselves to a wider range of orchestration.”
“Carmen McRae comes up with fresh variations on these songs while digging deep into the lyrics, altering the melodies at times, while not losing the essence of these songs,” expressed executive producer Thomas Gramuglia. “The Carmen McRae Trio’s original recordings were enhanced with a few strings, flute, oboe, vibes, occasionally a French horn and bass clarinet, adding a touch of class by The Sentimental Pops Orchestra.”
Carmen McRae Let There Be Love Track List
1. If You Never Fall In Love With Me
2. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
3. Let There Be Love
4. It Could Happen To You
5. I’ve Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
6. Make Someone Happy
7. The Right To Love (Reflections)
8. Watch What Happens
9. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
11. I’m Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away The Key)
12. Miss Brown To You
14. Too Close For Comfort
Studio musicians included Norman Simmons (piano), Frank Severino (drums), Victor Sproles (bass on 1963 session) and Chuck Domanico (bass on 1969 session). The Reimagined Series also included additional production, recording, mixing and mastering by John Forbes at Forjam Studios.
About Carmen McRae:
Carmen McRae recorded a dozen albums during her five year period with Decca. During that period she was sometimes accompanied by large orchestras, recorded a full album of vocal duets with Sammy Davis Jr, had many sessions with small combos (including working with pianist Ray Bryant’s trio and singing “Something To Live For” while accompanied by pianist Billy Strayhorn), recorded a set of Noel Coward songs, and made an entire album of tunes having to do with birds (Birds Of A Feather). Unlike Ella Fitzgerald (“A-Tisket, A-Tasket”) or Sarah Vaughan (“Tenderly”), she did not have any big hits, but she earned a large reputation in the jazz world as being one of its top singers. McRae would retain that position throughout the rest of her life.
During the 1960s, Carmen McRae was constantly busy, recording regularly, appearing at the top jazz clubs and festivals, and touring overseas. In 1961 alone, she made an album with Dave Brubeck’s trio, recorded a set of Billie Holiday-associated songs, and sang next to Louis Armstrong (including on “One Moment Worth Years”) in Brubeck’s anti-racism play The Real Ambassadors, both on records and at the Monterey Jazz Festival. With Norman Simmons as her regular pianist, she usually performed with a trio but also had special projects with larger ensembles. In addition, in 1965 she made an appearance in the movie Hotel.
As with most jazz singers of her generation, the late 1960s and ‘70s was a rough period, particularly on records. While McRae had a big enough following to weather the potentially lean years by continuing to perform regularly, her recordings found her often being saddled with unsuitable pop and rock material as labels tried unsuccessfully to get her a hit. 1971’s The Great American Songbook was a rare exception during the period. However that situation permanently changed in 1980 when she signed with Concord, starting with a wonderful set of duets with pianist George Shearing that showed that she had not lost a thing through the years. Other memorable recordings of the time included a session with vibraphonist Cal Tjader, a set of songs dedicated to Nat King Cole, two albums of Billie Holiday standards, and an offbeat collaboration of vocal duets with fellow jazz singer Betty Carter.
Carmen McRae ended her recording career on top. 1988’s Carmen Sings Monk is a classic that finds her performing vocal versions of Thelonious Monk songs, some of which had never been sung before. 1990’s Sarah – Dedicated To You has McRae performing tributes to Sarah Vaughan while joined by the Shirley Horn Trio. At 70, she seemed ageless.
Unfortunately that was an illusion. A lifelong smoker, she was forced to stop performing in May 1991 due to respiratory failure. Three years later she suffered a stroke and passed away soon afterwards, on Nov. 10, 1994 at the age of 74. Although more than 30 years have passed since her last performance, Carmen McRae is still considered one of the very best singers in jazz history and remains an influential force on many vocalists today.
About Hindsight Records:
The thrilling discovery that there was a vast repertoire of Big Band music that had never been released to the public, led to the formation of Hindsight Records. When Wally Heider, a producer for the company, learned that the Big Bands had made recordings specifically for use on radio broadcast only and that these recordings had never been commercially released - he made it his business to track them down. It took him years, as part of his quest included getting permission from the band leaders or their heirs to release the recordings, he finally amassed a superb collection. Hindsight today has continued Wally Heider’s quest to release never before heard recordings, that not only include Big Band recordings, but many of the famous pop singers, jazz artists and vocal groups of all time.