Sunday, May 18, 2008

Department of Amplification

On a Yahoo list to which I subscribe, one of the other members recently posted the following:

>I've seen one photo [of singer Ann Baker], in which she was stunning, and have one record [recorded under the name of Ann Hathaway]. . .It's a Keynote on gritty recycled shellac, teaming "Come Rain Or Come Shine" with "Between The Devil," from 1946. Under a more aggressive than usual Ellis Larkins is Edmond Hall on clarinet, but what's unusual is the extent to which the bass (Al Hall) and drums (Lunceford alum James Crawford) really drive the record.

To which I replied:

I knew Baker/Hathaway. She was a beautiful, fine singer who gave up the biz to operate, with her husband, a well-regarded barbecue restaurant in my hometown of Charleston, West (by god) Virginia. She also ran an after hours "black and tan" spot where I saw all manner of famed traveling musicians, who would stop in to jam with Ann for old times sake. I was underage and wore sunglasses, a fake moustache, and a hat. I'm sure that I didn't fool anyone, but Ann, no doubt, appreciated the gesture.

Toward the end of her life (she died about eight years ago) she came back as a singer and received a fair degree of national attention. You can catch her at her prime in the Billy Eckstine movie Rhythm in a Riff (1947). Baker was the first singer to record with Miles Davis and there is also an air check of her with Bird and Dizzy.

Hear Ann BAKER (with Miles Davis, Linton Garner, Gene Ammons, Tommy Potter, Art Blakey, C. Wainright) sing "Baby, Won't You Make Up Your Mind" written by Baker

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just got through listening to the Keynote 78 referred to above — Ann Hathaway (also known as Ann Baker) singing "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," and I LOVE her voice! Her delicate, prayerful rendition of "Come Rain or Come Shine" is my favorite version of the song (though Sarah Vaughan's Columbia record comes close), but I'll agree with the poster on one point: the backup band on the record IS great (particularly on "Devil," where the first-rate musicians — notably the underrated Henderson Chambers on trombone — get to solo).