Personnel includes: Arthur Prysock (vocals); Don Sebesky, Torrie Zito, Mort Garson (arranger, conductor); Herb Gordy, Billy Byers (arranger); Wilbert "Red" Prysock (tenor saxophone).
Count Basie & His Orchestra: Count Basie (piano); Dick Hyman (conductor, organ); Billy Byers (arranger); Bobby Plater (alto saxophone, flute); Marshall Royal (alto saxophone, clarinet); Eric Dixon (tenor saxophone, flute); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor saxophone); Charlie Fowlkes (baritone saxophone); Al Aarons, Sonny Cohn, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau (trumpet); Henderson Chambers, Henry Coker, Al Grey, Grover Mitchell (trombone); Bill Hughes (bass trombone); Freddie Green (guitar); Norman Keenan (bass); Grady Tate (drums).
Producers: Bob Shad, Hy Weiss, Pete Spargo, Creed Taylor.
Compilation producer: Jerry Rappaport.
Includes liner notes by Bob Porter.
Digitally remastered by Kevin Reeves (Polygram Studios).
This is part of Verve's Chronicles series.
Personnel: Freddie Green (guitar); Bobby Plater (flute, alto saxophone); Eric Dixon (flute, tenor saxophone); Marshall Royal (clarinet, alto saxophone); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor saxophone); Philip Guilbeau, Al Aarons, Wallace Davenport, Sonny Cohn (trumpet); Henderson Chambers, Grover Mitchell , Henry Coker, Al Grey (trombone); Bill Hughes (bass trombone); Count Basie (piano); Dick Hyman (organ); Grady Tate (drums).
Recording information: A & R Studios, New York, NY (01/??/1954-02/07/1968); Fine Sound, New York, NY (01/??/1954-02/07/1968); New York, NY (01/??/1954-02/07/1968); United Recorders, Hollywood, CA (01/??/1954-02/07/1968).
Director: Giulio Turturro.
Editor: Deborah Hay.
Photographer: Chuck Stewart.
Arrangers: Don Sebesky; Mort Garson; Torrie Zito; Billy Byers.
A member in good standing of those deep-throated baritones who plied their trade in the 1950s and beyond, this album compiles work that Arthur Prysock did for the Old Town, Verve, and Mercury labels. Along with Johnny Hartman, Al Hibbler, and Billy Eckstine to whom's voice Prysock's bears a striking resemblance, Prysock was one of those black crooners who reached a level of popularity among the lovers of traditional pop and standard material. Prysock also had some success with rhythm & blues, especially with "I Didn't Sleep a Wink Last Night." Morning, Noon, and Night compiles more traditional material recorded by the South Carolina native. The one R&B number is a funky B.B. King- penned "Woke up This Morning" featuring the tenor sax of Prysock's brother Wilbert "Red" Prysock. This cut is one of the highlights of the album.
As for the remaining tracks, with a couple of notable exceptions, Prysock is forced to compete with a number of large, string-filled orchestras, mercifully unidentified, trying to project his voice beyond the over-arranged, syrupy orchestrations. There also seems to have been a predilection for injecting Latin rhythms, whether it made musical sense or not. "Jet" has such a beat combined with strings, harp, organ, and solo sax almost drowning out Prysock, not an easy task. There's more Latin on "Show Me How to Mambo" with a clearly dubbed vocal over a steaming mambo band reminiscent of some of Machito's work. Some of the arrangers responsible for this mish-mash are identified, like Don Sebesky who never met a string section he didn't over-orchestrate. Luckily, there are some other redeeming tracks on this CD, like a blues-laden "Blue Velvet" with excellent support from organ and muted trumpet. Prysock is given the opportunity to display his rich vocal technique on "You Are Too Beautiful" and "What's New," where he is backed with a competent big band sans strings. The Count Basie Orchestra is present on one track, "Gone Again," from their 1965 collaboration featuring Charlie Fowlkes matching sonorous baritone sax. And, of course, the song that Billy Eckstine made famous, "A Cottage for Sale," gets a perfectly pleasant reading by Prysock.
Prysock's soothing baritone was in full bloom during this period. It's regrettable the labels he was working for didn't see fit to pair him with more suitable musical aggregations and with arrangements designed to feature his voice rather than surround it with large orchestras. Nonetheless, Morning, Noon, and Night is a good collection of the work of one of the better full-throated vocalists of the period. ~ Dave Nathan