Wonder & Mystery: Gloria Lynne

It has been an odd schedule for the box of Wonder & Mystery, however I will not give up, I will continue to uncover hidden treasures and to cover music that shouldn’t be listened to so you don’t have to.

From the box this week comes a wonderful jazz album by the fantastic Gloria Lynne.

Why is it when anyone who has been out of vinyl for a while (long story) that once they get back into it by default some of the first records that are purchased for the new deck are almost always some kind of jazz? I haven’t done my due diligence in the science about this but I think my own anecdotal experiments confirm that yes jazz is the default music for turntables.

I don’t know a lot about jazz, one of those “but I know what I like” sort of things. Gloria Lynne is one of those things.

This compilation album is a 1967 pressing from Sunset Records and besides the album design credits it’s all I’ve got. However some of those musicians were probably trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, saxophonist Sam Taylor, organist Wild Bill Davis and guitarist Kenny Burrell.

Gloria has an enunciation of lyrics that some singers might be more “sloppy” in their execution but she uses the fullness of her formidable voice without drowning lyrics in notes. If you think about it you know what I mean, many tremendous singers will escalate songs into these sublime notes that human ears were never meant to hear. Gloria doesn’t need to do this as she has a soulful clarity that doesn’t need embellishing.

If I Had You,” swings with guitar, horns and a relaxed rhythm; “It Never Entered My Mind” is a live recording (possibly off of At Basin Street) that highlights her voice with a paucity of instrumentation, “June Night” is a song that should be played and danced to on any night.

In 1950 she won first place in the Apollo Amateur Hour (Ella Fitzgerald also had previously won), she worked with Della Reese, Lena Horne, Quincy Jones, and shared bills with the likes of Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald. She was screwed by record companies (imagine that) out of royalties for her albums and she was publicized poorly but she worked steadily performing. A resurgence in the 90s got her back in the swing (pardon the pun).

Do yourself a favor, if you like jazz and stunning vocals find you some Gloria Lynne, she should have been bigger. If she really was dicked out of royalties go find to a record shop and find some vinyl of her. No reason to help the rich get richer is there?

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