This album is dedicated to my father, Edward Vedder; and to Walt and Barbara Stuart.
I wish to thank the entire band for all their dedication and patience with this project over the last two years. And special thanks to Ken Norman, whose dedication and tireless work to put together a wonderful recording for us finally resulted in a tribute to the great ladies of American big band jazz and show business, in the 20th century. I will be forever grateful for your imagination, assistance and energy despite all the delays and setbacks.
Special thanks to Patrick Crawford, for pushing me onstage 20 years ago for my first public performances as a vocalist. I will always be grateful for this and I am sure my late parents are as well, to celebrate the music they played and so loved, so long ago.
Special thanks also to our friend, George Renner at Renwood Messenger Studios, where he has been helping us make and record music since 2005.
— Carole Crawford
‘Ladies of American Jazz’
Featuring Carole Crawford with the Pat Crawford Big Band
This album is the culmination of a two-year-long effort by vocalist Carole Crawford, Ken Norman and the entire Pat Crawford Big Band epitomizing her passion for and appreciation of the songs made famous by the great ladies of American big band jazz and show business in the 20th century.
Included here are nine tracks from the 2021 album, along with notes from Carole.
Why Don't You Do Right
This wonderful 1946 arrangement from Benny Goodman, with the terrific Peggy Lee swinging along, is a great opener for this lineup. This is vintage Peggy at her early best.
June Christy is one of my favorite jazz vocalists ever. This arrangement originally recorded by June with the Pete Rugolo band in 1950 is a classic example from the school of the landmark album “Something Cool.”
This Time the Dream's on Me
No one tops the brilliant Ella Fitzgerald and this arrangement with the Count Basic Orchestra swings from beginning to end.
Ask anyone who knows me, knows my worship of this most brilliant of America’s 20th Century entertainers: The wonderful Judy Garland is my favorite female singer of all time. This lively opener from the one-of- a-kind live Carnegie Hall album from 1961 encapsules her exuberant, show business- vaudeville-trouper All American style, and I am proud to include this cut from the album she recorded with Mort Lindsey’s great orchestra.
Rockabye (Your Baby With a Dixie Melody)
Here is Judy Garland’s style I pay tribute to here in the mode of Al Jolson, that great vaudevillian and showman. This arrangement, also from the groundbreaking live 1961 Carnegie Hall recording, captures a style and type of piece only heard these days on old movie soundtracks.
This wonderful standard, which has been recorded by everyone from Dean Martin to Sophia Loren since the late 1950s and early 1960s (harkening the movie La Dolce Vita), is fun and lively; this version I pay tribute to an American singer from the pop world: “The Divine Miss M,” also known as Bette Midler.
All That Jazz
This is another staple of American show business, paying tribute to the memory of Bob Fosse, the great choreographer. Liza Minelli has recorded it, and of course most music lovers of this genre will remember the latest incarnation of this tune, from the musical of recent years: “Chicago.” Since Pat Crawford took over the John Bunic Big Band in 2007, I received this arrangement from the brilliant arranger and family friend Walt Stuart, who created it for his late wife, vocalist Barbara Stuart. I miss you, Walt; this is for you.
No showcase of American lady vocalists would be complete without the dynamic Lena Horne backed with punch on this Henry Mancini piece. Not many people know that Lena wrote the lyrics to this staple in my big band vocal portfolio … sheer tour de force here by a great talent.
It Had Better Be Tonight
Come Back to Me
I have to confess, this arrangement Ken Norman set up for me is patterned after the live performance of this piece in the “Sounds of ‘66” 1966 live album recorded in Las Vegas. It was groundbreaking then to be recorded live, and Sammy is at his best on this recording. I love it and it has been a long time coming to get it recorded. No lady; regardless, I included this from a unique American show business genius.
SAXES, FLUTES, CLARINETS
(Rogers Randle Jr)
CONGAS, TIMBALES, BONGOS