Pete Recommends…Maxine Sullivan – Uptown

Maxine Sullivan with the Scott Hamilton Quintet

Uptown

[Concord CD  CCD4188]

A few weeks ago I rang a friend to confirm a meeting. It was quite late and he told me that he was at the Verdict, where it was the interval. “Who’s on?” I asked. “Scott Hamilton, absolutely terrific,” he replied. That conversation led me to this recommendation.

Maxine Sullivan had a long career as a jazz singer, but her last years were particularly successful. She made many concert appearances, some with The World’s Greatest Jazz Band, and recorded for the Concord label. This session was recorded in Tokyo, while on tour in 1986. It should also appeal to Scott’s many fans in Brighton, because it captures him on great form early in his career with what was, for a time, his regular group.

Maxine is at her very best on this CD. Her mature style is simple and direct, yet full of jazz feeling. I believe Sonny Rollins described her as “the real thing”. I have always enjoyed her version of You’re A Lucky Guy, but she is just as impressive with Something to Remember You By, while her quiet, understated version of I Thought About You makes an excellent contrast with Sinatra’s great recording. There are excellent solos from Chris Flory and John Bunch, while Scott shows why his beautiful playing soon won so much praise.

  

Peter Batten

Maxine Sullivan, vocals accompanied by Scott Hamilton, tenor saxophone; John Bunch, piano; Chris Flory, guitar; Phil Flanigan, bass; Chuck Riggs, drums.