I'm Glad We Met is chock-full of musical delights; she imbues the title track with a poignancy and a realness that only a comparative handful of vocal performers can match. Gems such as 'Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone'and a bluesy interpretation of 'Georgia On My Mind' ensured this recording was milestone in a career already brimming with widespread acclaim.
Carol is accompanied by David Newton (piano), Dave Green (bass) and Allan Ganley (drums) plus, on half a dozen tracks, large-scale strings led by Adrian Drover, which provide a comforting surround to her vocal.
From the beginning of Carol's impressive career, her albums were extremely well received and cemented her place in the jazz world as a respected recording artist, building on her already superb reputation in the jazz club and concert hall. With a triumphant career in jazz spanning half a century, Carol Kidd is widely recognised as ‘Britain's finest ballads singer' (Jazz Review). She has been named Best Vocalist at the British Jazz Awards on four occasions and has been appointed MBE for Services to Jazz. Carol has received accolades from Frank Sinatra ‘Carol Kidd is the best kept secret of British Jazz' and Tony Bennett ‘You should be world-famous. Where've you been?'; as well as being voted ‘Best Performer' at the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival and ‘Best Vocalist' at the Cannes International Jazz Awards. To many of her fans, and critics alike, Carol is up there with the jazz greats. She has received favourable comparisons with Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Billie Holliday and has had continued praise from modern and traditional jazz performers.
Original booklet Notes:
There are certain singers, whose activities cover a fairly wide range of jazz and adjoining areas of popular music and who, for the most part, seem content in producing the same level of competence in performance on an indefinite basis. Usually highly competent I'll admit, at times even tinged with real inspiration. Not to be lightly dismissed you may reason. True, except perhaps that all too often they tend to leave the listener with a sneaking suspicion of merely going through the motions.
Then there are those who to all intents and purposes, appear to have it ready-made over apparently less-fortunate mortals. They have glorious voice-production allied to a formidable technique which, given the right kind of training, can be further honed and developed. Okay if personal aspirations incline towards the allied worlds of classical music and opera, sadly though, less than helpful with regard to the kind of music we're concerned with: especially if that outstanding voice becomes in itself the be-all and end-all of each and every performance, meaning that such important pre-requisites as lyric-interpretation and maybe even a reasonable aptitude to swing are conspicuous by their absence.
Contrastingly, there's another breed of vocalist stylist. No incredible technique or in some cases, even a more obvious tonal beauty. Despite which, they can really touch your heart. So directly, so meaningfully; any supposed technical deficiencies are rendered null and void.
Carol Kidd, though, is in an extra-special category. One that has been populated by precious few others. She is indeed one of those rarities in her chosen field, and they're getting rarer with each passing year it seems to me, she manages to combine the choicest elements of vocalism. Carol has an absolutely beautiful sound, pure as silk, yet suffused at all times with a depth and yes, honesty that, particularly with regard to her singing ballads, is often intensely moving. On occasion that tonal purity and an ability to touch her audiences can make you think of Peggy Lee (one of her major influences, anyway), Streisand, and even of the late Mildred Bailey. Yet, in any overall assessment, she never really sounds like anyone else but Carol Kidd.
For many of her followers, whether those who remember her earlier days or those who've responded to her artistry in more recent times, it's her ballad work that registers strongest. Certainly, she can take a great number like ‘I Wish I'd Met You' - a positively stunning item in her latest collection - and imbue it with a poignancy and a realness that only a comparative handful of vocal performers, past as well as present, can match. But that's just part of what she's about.
Without ever needing to resort to coarsening her lovely tone, or adopting a raunchier-than-thou posture, she handles the rhythmical numbers with the kind of genuine spontaneity, joyous swing and a natural exuberance, which together makes her right to be called a jazz singer something that is beyond question. For the uninitiated, direct your attention speedily to such enclosed gems as ‘Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone' and ‘Georgia On My Mind', the latter evidencing an additional bluesiness in interpretation which gives it an extra - and exhilarating - dimension.
Since 1984, Kidd has put together an indisputably remarkable series of recordings for Linn Records. Each of her previous albums has given proof-positive evidence of her enviable reputation for consistency in performance. Pick your own personal favourites from the first, eponymous, Debut (BKD 228), All My Tomorrows (BKD 210), Nice Work (BKD 229) - but for those of us who have given the quartet regular replays, the overriding fact has been the lady's unerring consistency. That kind of consistency is readily apparent throughout I'm Glad We Met which, for the foreseeable future, will be receiving the same kind of constant aural attention as any one of its predecessors.
I'm Glad We Met celebrates a special kind of event for Carol Kidd, the recording artist. It's the first (and one cannot imagine the remotest possibility of it being the last!) occasion she has had the thrill of working with a large string section like that which surrounds her voice so comfortingly on half the dozen titles. Rightly, she has nothing but warmest praise for Adrian Drover, responsible for five of the charts and who augments the strings with, intriguingly, a trombone section and Allan Ganley who is responsible for the elegant arrangement which undoubtedly inspires Kidd's impassioned reading of Henry Nemo's ‘Don't Take Your Love From Me'.
Ganley's principal role on the album, though, is as a player. And Carol Kidd could scarcely have wished for a more tastful, sympathetic drummer than he. Ganley, of course, is a regular member of the singer's regular Trio which also includes the redoubtable Dave Green, whose bass sound, alone, is a major asset. And as a pivot for the Trio, Green - as elsewhere - is a dependable as the proverbial Rock of Gibraltar. The relative importance of pianist David Newton - both to Carol and the Trio deserves but, alas, cannot hope to receive, anywhere near the kind of full appraisal it most certainly deserves. Suffice it to say, his presence is indispensable throughout, as it was for the Night We Called It A Day sessions last year.
For Carol herself, this is just one more milestone in a career which has been brimming with widespread acclaim, ever-increasing popularity, and continued artistic achievement of the highest order. As with her previous recording projects, I'm Glad We Met is chock-full of musical delights. A fresh consignment of delightful surprises that will ensure it is the recipient of the kind of warm acceptance by critics, fellow musicians and record-buyers alike that greeted her previous album.
For this avid listener, among those delightful surprises are her sensitive readings of ‘I Wish I'd Met You' - a marvellous collaboration between the one-and-only Johnny Mandel (music) and Frank Underwood and Richard Rodney Bennett (lyrics) - a soulful, excitement-building ‘Georgia'; a touching, yearning ‘Sometimes (Not Often)' - with a straight-from-the-heart lyric from Felice Mancini, to father's (Henry M.) fine melody.
And though one might consider Carol was on dangerous ground, in even attempting to rework ‘I'm A Fool to Want You' - a highly-emotive ballad with strong personal as well as musical connections with Frank Sinatra, with an FS namecheck among the list of writers, she never falters for a second. It will surely remain on any all-time list of emotionally-powerful Kidd recordings.
‘I enjoyed this latest project', Carol told me, sometime after the August sessions, ‘even though I did develop a bit of a cold, something which made it harder work than it usually is for me. Everyone connected with the album deserves the warmest praise, including the musicians and my producer Elliot meadow. And of course, I hope those who buy it, will like what we've come up with...'
No question about it: the enjoyment comes through on every track; praise is due all-around (including sound man Calum Malcolm). And anyone wise enough to invest in I'm Glad We Met - whatever their choice in sound-carrying configuration - can only receive the kind of lasting pleasure one recalls from everyone one of Carol's previous releases. More than that the discerning listener cannot expect...
(c) Stan Britt, 1991