Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shirley Crabbe - Home

A great debut solo album ....
.... plunged back into the jazz scene!
Hans Koert

September last year Shirley Crabbe released her debut album Home. Although she was awarded several times and sung at famous venues like Birdland, the Metropolitan Room and the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York, performed in stage productions like Ain't Misbehavin' an Coming to the Mercy Seat, it's not just an album a dime a dozen - it is a new start. An operation on her vocal chords gave her a chance at a career as a singer, and with this album, Home, she's plunged back into the jazz scene ...... And what a re-start ... She was one of the five best vocalists in the 2010 Jazz mobile "Best of the Best" vocal companion ..... Home - what a great voice she has!
Her sister Deborah, who says in the liner notes with some proud that she is Shirley's first accompanist and her biggest fan, remembers their duets as kids in Barbara Streisand’s Hello Dolly and how they loved to sing together....... Shirley points to Ella Fitzgerald, whose version of A Tisket-A-Tasket fascinated her and made her decide to become a singer. She studied Voice at several Schools of Music, like the prestigious Manhattan School of Music and could be found, as a young student, singing at clubs downtown. This album Home is a great start for a new career in vocal jazz .......
The album contains nine tracks, most part of the Great American Songbook, like Gerswin's Summertime and Detour Ahead. I love the American Songbook. It's so hard to find things that everybody hasn't done already, but there are treasures out there if you look beyond the usual jazz sources. Don't expect the usual arrangements as sung by those hundred other vocalists that recorded these tunes - no, Matt Haviland and Shirley herself, both responsible for most arrangements, love to surprise its listeners......... Summertime is transformed into a rousing, wake-the-baby West African polyrhythmic celebration ......... I read somewhere.

She's accompanied by some versatile musicians, like trumpet player Brandon Lee, reed player Dave Glasser and trombonist Matt Haviland.
The rhythm section contains piano player Jim West, my brilliant pianist, as Shirley labels him, ( replaced by Donald Vega on some tracks), John Burr on double bass and Alvester Garnett on drums. Guest
player is the well known veteran tenor player Houston Person, who can be heard on two tracks: Lucky To Be Me and Strong Man. Houston Person, active for more then 50 years in concert, accompanied vocalist Etta Jones since the 1970s and knows how to do that ........ Strong Man, one of the tunes that fascinated most, was originally sung by Abbey Lincoln October 1957 for her album That's Him, featuring great names like Kenny Dorham, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Max Roach. The album Home: a great debut album!

The album can be ordered at the Shirley Crabbe website.

Hans Koert

Last year Shirley Crabbe released her debut album as a solo jazz vocalist. The album contains nine tracks, which she arranged together with trombone player Mat Haviland. She's accompanied by some great versatile musicians, including the legendary tenor boss Houston Person as her special guest. An inspired album by a great singer - you'll realy like it. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of releases. Follow the Keep (it) Swinging blog at Twitter ( #keepitswinging) or ask for its free newsletter (
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