This 2-CD set features two original RCA Victor albums featuring the wonderful voice of Lena Horne. Produced by David Merrick and featuring music by Harold Arlen, the musical "Jamaica" opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on October 31, 1957 and ran for over 550 performances. With a cast that also included Ricardo Montalban, "Jamaica" was Ms. Horne's Broadway debut. "Porgy And Bess" is Horne's duet album with Harry Belafonte, released to capitalize on the popularity of the movie released the same year starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge.
2 LPs on 2 CDs: JAMAICA (1958)/PORGY & BESS (w/Harry Belafonte) (1959).
JAMAICA (Original Cast):
Music composed by Harold Arlen. Lyrics written by Yip Harburg.
Principal cast includes: Lena Horne, Ricardo Montalban, Ossie Davis, Adelaide Hall, Josephine Premise.
Producers: Ed Welker, Fred Reynolds.
Originally released on RCA (1958).
PORGY AND BESS:
Music composed by George Gershwin. Lyrics written by Du Bose Heyward and Ira Gerswhin.
Principal cast: Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte.
Originally released on RCA (1507).
Liner Note Author: George Durham.
Unknown Contributor Role: Harry Belafonte.
The first disc of this 2-in-1 CD package, the original 1958 cast recording for JAMAICA, marks Lena Horne's Broadway debut. Though only a minor Broadway production, JAMAICA featured fine compositions from Harold Arlen, many of which were written specifically to showcase Horne. Numbers like "Cocoanut Sweet" and "Ain't It the Truth" would sound right at home in Horne's regular performance repertoire.
The second disc features highlights from PORGY AND BESS with Horne and the great Harry Belafonte singing the lead roles. The sessions, recorded in 1959, were directed by Horne's husband Lenny Hayton, and both Horne and Belafonte turn in dazzling performances of well-known classics like "My Man's Gone Now" and "I Got Plenty of Nothin'." Both albums have been long out of print, so this twofer reissue is a welcome release.