Jazz singer Carol Sloane has died at 85
Date Posted: 2023-02-22
There are some artists in this world who you would expect to be a household name, but for some reason or another they aren't. Carol Sloane falls into this category. Ms. Sloane, who was once considered to be next in line to singing nobility like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae, is known to fewer jazz fans than one would expect considering her formidable skills and impressive accomplishments.
Carol Sloane was already performing professionally by the age of 14. After some time on the road with Larry Elgart's band, a young 24-year Sloane appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival and caught the ear of Columbia Records executives who quickly offered her a recording contract. Ms. Sloane's career was on the rise with appearances on Johnny Carson and Steve Allen's television shows, shared billings with comedians Bill Crosby, Woody Allen, and as a favorite of Oscar Peterson, she regularly opened for him at the Village Vanguard in NYC.
Sally Evans-Darby's review in the Jazz Journal of "Carol Sloane - Sophisticated Lady" Audiophile Records ACD-195, recorded in 1977 after a more than a decade-long hiatus from singing, captures the essence of this extraordinary musician's capabilities.
"Ms. Sloane possesses a husky, sensuous vocal that wraps itself luxuriously round familiar lyrics, but the best weapon in her arsenal is her unerring sense of time. Her pitch-perfect, swinging delivery is always on the money, heard to best effect on this album on 'It Don't Mean a Thing'; even at such a pace, every 'doo-ah' lands effortlessly on the beat, seemingly with time to spare. This album is made up completely of Ellington songs, for which Ms. Sloane's vocal is an ideal match. Particularly enjoyable is the medley, where 'I Let A Song' segues seamlessly into 'Do Nothing', with the vocal backed only by George Mraz's laidback bass. This is a quiet, mellow set of recordings that has much to teach today's aspiring young vocalists."
Stephen Holden of The New York Times had a similar take on her singing when he wrote, "There are no shortcuts to the serene autumnal grove from which the jazz singer Carol Sloane spins out songs of experience in a warm, slightly husky voice that swings steadily while projecting a reassuring calm. As much as any singer of her generation, Ms. Sloane understands the value of restraint."
The world of jazz has lost another master. Posthumously, perhaps, Carol Sloane will finally become that household name she so rightly deserves.
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