Down Beat - 2/915 Stars
- Excellent - "...Culled from classic vocal performances of the '50s, it simply revels in the grandeur of Porter's witty wordplay and timeless melodies. And with a lineup deeper than the Yankees fabled Murderers Row, it hits a home run almost every time up..."
Also available with I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU: THE COLE PORTER SONGBOOK VOLUME 2 and ANYTHING GOES - THE COLE PORTER SONGBOOK INSTRUMENTALS as THE COMPLETE COLE PORTER SONGBOOK (Verve 519 828).
With their vast back catalog of classic vocal sides, the Verve label has been releasing a seemingly endless line of songbook collections featuring a who's who of jazz greats. Irving Berlin, Gershwin, Ellington, and Rodgers & Hart have all been feted. Now it's Cole Porter's turn. Over the course of the 17 chestnuts heard here, the likes of Fred Astaire, Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Mel Torm‚, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Eckstine all turn in performances befitting Porter's genius -- and Porter has these talents to thank for enlivening his work like no stage singer ever could. The selections range from lithe and Latinized interpretations by Washington ("I've Got You Under My Skin") and Eckstine ("In the Still of the Night") to nonpareil renditions from Armstrong ("Let's Do It") and Fitzgerald ("Anything Goes"). Adding to these high-profile moments, relative underlings like Anita O'Day, Blossom Dearie, Shirley Horn, Bill Henderson, and Helen Merrill turn in fine performances of their own, with Dearie's "Always True to You in My Fashion" deserving special mention. Whether you are looking for a jazz vocal sampler or a Porter overview, this very enjoyable collection will definitely do the trick. ~ Stephen Cook