Saturday, November 05, 2005

By December, singer Pinky Winters will have had three CDs released in Japan this year. Not bad. . .not bad atall!

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The first was in August, a Japanese issue with bonus track, of her 2002 CD with Richard Rodney Bennett, "Rain Sometimes." I produced it, and there's more about the making of the album here .

Early December will see a first time CD issue of her 1958 Argo album "Lonely One." A transitional recording, it finds Pinky still somewhat in the cool school vein of her 1954 debut recording on the Vantage label. For it wasn't until 1985, her next recording---17 years later!---"Let's Be Buddies," that she truly found her, ummmm, stylistic sea legs. On that album, she is accompanied by the great Lou Levy on piano.

And it is Levy who is also heard on the third Japanese release, also due out in December. Actually recorded two years prior to "Buddies," the circumstances surrounding the making of "Pinky Winters Sings Johnny Mandel" are detailed in its liner notes:

"In 1982-'83 the late Joel E. Siegel produced a now-legendary concert series, The Great American Songwriters, at Washington, DC's Corcoran Gallery. Included were such notable performers as Jackie & Roy, Carol Sloane, Shirley Horn, Sheila Jordan, Blossom Dearie, and. . .Pinky Winters, accompanied by Lou Levy.

When Siegel asked Winters and Levy which songwriter they wished to salute, their answer was mutual and immediate. . .Johnny Mandel. And soon the duo was off to DC to perform their 2/27/83 tribute. Afterwards, Siegel gave Winters and Levy a tape of the show to "Do with as you wish." Now 23 years later it is receiving its World Premiere release.

In addition, Johnny Mandel has generously contributed, as a bonus track, "Take Me Home," a 1991 demo recording that he produced in his home studio with Winters and Levy."

Mandel is also heard on the bonus track adding tasteful synth lagniappes to the Mandel-Bergmans song. He also provided a thoughtful encomium on the back of the CD, to the effect that, well, this album is, to put it mildly, very very good! Here's an
advance taste (you'll need the actual CD itself to hear Levy's sublime 1:47 intro to Pinky's vocal).

By the time that most Japanese recordings reach the U.S., the cost can be so great, "Lonely One" notwithstanding, as to necessitate the ransoming of one's first-born. But plans are already afoot to make copies of "Pinky Winters Sings Johnny Mandel" available online at a budget-conscious price. More details here as they become available.

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