Etta Jones: Don't Go To Strangers

Tom Lord's usually infallible The Jazz Discography CD-ROM (version 7.0) informs us that this soulful classic was recorded in New York. From the opening piano chords, however, we know immediately: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, home of incomparable soundman Rudy Van Gelder. And of course the CD confirms it. By 1960, Etta Jones had been making records for 15 years, but as far as we know was a stranger to Van Gelder Studio. Ironic, then, that her hit from this session was titled "Don't Go To Strangers," for she and Rudy were a match made in . . . well, if not Heaven, exactly, then at least Englewood Cliffs. With Dr. Van Gelder's patented tincture of reverb enveloping her come-hither voice, Etta Jones (not to be confused with Etta James) conveys an intimacy that'll curl your toes into permanent postures of pleasure. "Don't Go To Strangers," boys and girls, but do go to Etta and Rudy for a 4-minute glimpse of Elysium—which, as we all know, is in New Jersey, not New York.

January 22, 2008 · 0 comments


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