VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
15 JUL 13 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Blues singer Mildred Anderson had a smoky contralto voice and sang with a knowing awareness of the pitfalls of romance. In 1960, she recorded two albums for Bluesville, a Prestige label, which are considered the high points of her career. No More In Life is a solid set of jazzy blues, featuring an organ trio and legendary tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis.
Anderson grew up singing in the church and went on to perform with Hot Lips Page and boogie-woogie king Albert Ammons. She made her recording debut in 1953 with Bill Doggett, one of the first Hammond B-3 men. She worked in a lot of organ trio situations and, as in this release. Her smoky, alto voice is a great counterpoint to the B-3's timbre.
On this session another Hammond trailblazer, Shirley Scott, known as "Queen of the Organ," joins Anderson. Scott worked frequently with "Lockjaw" through the '50s and their familiarity is evident in the tight fills they play together behind Anderson's vocals. Both artists were early leaders in the hard bop genre and their funky, no-frills approach to their lines are hallmarks of that sub-style of jazz.
Anderson includes some of own her compositions on this set, like the opener, "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me," a 12-bar blues that grooves at a slow burn in 12/8 time. The bad luck themes of "Hard Times" and another Anderson original, "Mistreater," are lightened with bouncy arrangements of humorous blues classics like Count Basie's "I Ain't Mad At You" and "Roll 'Em Pete," which was a huge hit for Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson.