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Rolling Stone India’s Jazz Playlist

This week hear tunes from obscure artists

Sunil Sampat Mar 28, 2019

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This is the second in this weekly series of our theme-based jazz playlists. This week we look at some very fine performances from artists whose names may not be up there on the marquee. Nevertheless, these performers deserve to be heard and noticed by jazz listeners. These are fine vocal performances by artists we think deserve more airing.

1. O.C.Smith:  “On a Clear Day”

A very fine vocalist who even had a short stint singing with The Count Basie Band. He is known only to a few people who heard him in his short peak as a jazz vocalist. On this song he has the backing of Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, Jack Wilson on piano, Larry Bunker on vibes and Jimmie Smith on drums. Wish we had heard more from this smooth, baritone voice.

2. Gloria Lynne: “I Wish You Love”

This was a very popular number on several charts for several weeks. Sadly, it has been ‘below the radar’ for many jazz listeners. This lady has a soulful voice and the song is quite beautiful. It is sure to linger on for you — just as it did for many when it topped the various charts.

3. Eva Cassidy feat. Chuck Brown: “You Don’t Know Me”

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Little known but hugely talented singer, Eva Cassidy teams up with Chuck Brown to sing this popular song — also sung by Ray Charles. Cassidy was a rising star on the horizon when she was cruelly taken away by cancer while in her thirties. Try and check out more music from this fine talent.

4. Marian Montgomery: “Good Mornin’ Heartache”

Montgomery has a deep, sultry voice and she sang consistently well on her first album Marion Swings for Winners and Losers. This track is from that album. It features a fine orchestral backing, but no credits are given for the musicians in the band. It is a wonder that this lady did not make much impact on the music scene — after this fine debut with her impressive voice and style.

“Good Mornin’ Heartache” starts at the 22:14 mark below:

5. Oscar Peterson: “Sweet Lorraine”

I know what you’re thinking! Nothing obscure or unknown about Oscar Peterson — so why is he on this list? The answer is that while Peterson the pianist is undoubtedly a jazz giant, how many know of Oscar Peterson the jazz vocalist? In this playlist he is featured as a vocalist! Peterson was a big fan of Nat King Cole, who was a very fine jazz pianist. Apart from trying to emulate Cole the pianist, Oscar also made an album, With Respect to Nat, where he tries to sing like his hero. This track is from that album. This is Oscar Peterson the vocalist. Wonder why he didn’t sing more…

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