Record of the day: Caterina Valente, "In New York"

Record of the day: Caterina Valente, “In New York”

Catherine Valente
“In New York” (Cd Polydor 065104-2)

Just twenty-six years old but already able to sing in twelve languages ​​and gifted with a fresh voice that exuded swing and electricity from every note, Caterina Valente arrived in America under the auspices of producer Milt Gabler, who many will remember for his fruitful collaboration with Louis Armstrong.
Caterina was not a jazz singer in the strict sense but an entertainer with a wider range of repertoires, capable of also trying her hand at cinema and television (her repeated appearances in the shows of Perry Como and Dean Martin were fundamental to her success overseas) and capable of enthralling both the most refined connoisseurs who appreciated Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and the frequenters of the Las Vegas casinos, generally fanatics of the Rat Pack, Wayne Newton and Bobby Darin.

Of Italian origins, born in Paris, a superstar in Northern Europe and later in the States, Caterina is an authentic musical ambassador who has traveled the world tirelessly, transcending languages ​​and stylistic trends thanks to her impeccable timing which is combined with a vocal power capable of making her feel at ease even with the loudest big bands.

An excellent example of her talent is this album recorded in 1957 which features her with none other than Sy Oliver’s orchestra (which included big names such as JJ Johnson, Charlie Shavers and Hank Jones) in a repertoire of famous standards such as “Flamingo”, “Moonlight in Vermont”, “Where Or When”, “Alone Together” which Caterina drinks up like a glass of fresh water, holding her own against the best jazz vocal interpreters of her time (and beyond).

The album is a jewel of skill and fun from the first track to the last and makes us regret that most of the discography of this excellent artist is not available on CD. This time, however, Universal has done things right: the sound
of the album (already remarkable in itself) has been remastered giving us the realistic sensation of being in the studio with the musicians; a rich booklet with delightful photographs and texts completes the elegant package, entirely worthy of the class of those who interpreted these songs.
An album to give to yourself and to give as a gift, to introduce your friends to a true queen of swing.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical subjects.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: Un disco per ogni giorno dell’anno” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.