Digital’s

VOICES Notes and news on Digital releases

Devilishly Cool

13 JUL 09 ANNE FARNSWORTH

In 1998, Jazz singer Teri Thornton won the top prize at the prestigious Thelonius Monk vocal competition, beating out runners-up Jane Monheit and Tierney Sutton,who were just beginning their now impressive careers. Unlike her younger competitors, Thornton was 64 and suffering from terminal cancer. She also had enjoyed a promising career nearly 40 years earlier. Devil May Care on Original Jazz Classics is her acclaimed release from that era.

Ella Fitzgerald's favorite singer and championed by jazz stars like Cannonball Adderley and Johnny Griffin, Thornton had a three-octave range and a great ear. Just 27 when Devil May Care was recorded, Thornton already had a mature, rich tone and a relaxed, swinging feel. Her instrumental approach to improvisation wowed her fans and impressed fellow musicians. Bob Dorough's whimsical "Devil May Care," "Detour Ahead" and "Blue Skies" showcase Thornton's ease with rhythmic and melodic variation.

Out-of-print for years, the album is now available in the Digital Only section of the site. The all-star recording session features Clark Terry, pianist Wynton Kelly and Basie guitarist, Freddy Green. Arranger Norman Simmons (who would serve as her pianist at the Monk competition 37 years later) frames Thornton's singing with four-horn arrangements that are outstanding examples of the Cool period.

in this playlist.