Carmen McRae: Suddenly (aka In Walked Bud)


Suddenly (aka "In Walked Bud")


Carmen McRae (vocals)


Carmen Sings Monk (Bluebird 63841)

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Carmen McRae (vocals), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Larry Willis (piano), George Mraz (bass), Al Foster (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk; lyrics by Jon Hendricks


Recorded: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, January 30—February 1, 1988


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

While she was plagued by poor health in her final years, Carmen McRae produced several fine recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Carmen Sings Monk” was one of her best recordings and it included lyricized versions of Thelonious Monk’s compositions (but not his solos). Some of the tunes were included in live and studio versions, and this live version of “In Walked Bud” featured Monk’s tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse in one of his final performances. The words were originally written by Jon Hendricks on short notice for a recording session with Monk. Hendricks describes a mythic jam session with Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Monk and of course, Bud Powell. McRae’s performance begins as she scats the melody, followed by a full chorus of Hendricks’ words. Rouse takes the first solo, followed by Mraz and Willis, each of whom starts his solo with a quote, Mraz citing the song’s harmonic base (“Blue Skies”) and Willis acknowledging the Basie standard “Topsy”. McRae continues the parade of quotes with a phrase from “Louise” then goes into a short scat solo where she develops a small motive into a longer idea, then takes the end of the long idea and develops it into another phrase. When she goes back to the lyrics, she nearly stretches the song’s syncopations to their breaking point before bringing it back into sync with the band.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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