Maxine Sullivan: Massachusetts
Maxine Sullivan (vocals)
Memories of You – A Tribute to Andy Razaf (Re 835)
Composed by Andy Razaf & Luckey Roberts.
Recorded: New York, August 30, 1956
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
In contrast to Anita O'Day's 1942 Paul Revere-style charge through "Massachusetts" rousing Gene Krupa's Swing Era minutemen, Maxine Sullivan saunters around the Commonwealth at a leisurely pace, savoring the scenery from Charlie Shavers's trumpet-drawn carriage. With its hint of raspberry rasp and straight-to-the-point delivery, Sullivan's voice sounds like it's been lived in. And while the living ain't been easy, that don't mean you can't have a good time! Accordingly, Shavers's cup-muted trumpet and vocal interjections catch the lighthearted air with oxygenated mirth. Pianist Dick Hyman—decades before scoring many of Woody Allen's finest films, including the jazz-themed Sweet and Lowdown (1999)—joins trusty tandem Hinton & Johnson for an infectiously swinging rhythm section. But Maxine Sullivan, indigenous to another Commonwealth altogether (Pennsylvania), guides our tour through "Massachusetts" with the affectionate authority of a born-and-bred Bay Stater. This track is as quietly mischievous as young children hiding Papa's cell phone while he snoozes, then calling him from the land line. Their giggles are too sweet to scold.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz