Personnel: Helen Merrill (vocals); Quincy Jones (arranger); Clifford Brown (trumpet); Danny Banks (flute); Jimmy Jones (piano); Barry Galbraith (guitar); Milt Hinton, Oscar Pettiford (bass); Osie Johnson, Bobby Donaldson (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on December 22-23, 1954.
Though she eventually came to be known as a "singer's singer," Helen Merrill's 1954 debut is an unmitigated success of mainstream jazz. Besides introducing the uniquely talented young singer, the date also featured small-group arrangments by Quincy Jones and marks the introduction of another future star, trumpeter Clifford Brown. Formidable as his playing is, Brown never overshadows Merrill, however. She is fully up to the challenge on all fronts and enthusiastically tackles uptempo numbers such as "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and "Falling In Love With Love" with aplomb. A winning stylistic combination of cool jazz and hard bop, Merrill particularly excels on Mel Torme's "Born To Be Blue," making the sophisticated tune her own as well as reveling in Torme's down-and-out lyric.