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Devil May Care: songs by TERI THORNTON

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Teri Thornton is accompanied by –

Clark Terry (tp) Britt Woodman (tb) Earl Warren (as) Seldon Powell (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Freddie Green (on Lullaby of the Leaves, Detour Ahead, My Old Flame, Dancing in the Dark, Blue Champagne and Blue Skies – g) or Sam Herman (other six selections – g) Sam Jones (b) Jimmy Cobb (drs) Arranged and conducted by NORMAN SIMMONS

NYC; Dec. 23, 1960 and Jan. 10, 1961


  1. Lullaby of the Leaves (2:45) (Young – Petkere)

  2. Devil May Care (2:44) (Dorough – Kirk)

  3. Detour Ahead (3:09 )Carter – Ellis – Frigo)

  4. The Song Is You (2:29) (Hammerstein – Kern)

  5. My Old Flame (3:27) (Coslow – Johnston)

  6. What’s Your Story, Morning Glory (3:44) (Webster – Lawrence – Williams)


  1. Dancing in the Dark (2:28) (Dietz –Schwartz)

  2. Left Alone (3:25) (Holiday – Waldron)

  3. Blue Champagne (3:08) (Eaton – Wattz – Eyerson)

  4. I Feel a Song Comin’ On (2:39) (McHugh – Fields – Oppenheim)

  5. What’s New? (4:08) (Burke – Huggart)

  6. Blue Skies (2:33) (Irving Berlin)

   Every once in a while – once in a very long while – there comes along a performer whose artistry and appeal is so clearly overwhelming that the question to be asked is not whether they will succeed, but merely how long or short a time the rise to the top is apt to take. TERI THORNTON, the rich-voiced young singer who makes her record debut on this album, would seem definitely to be one of these once-in-a-long-while artists.

   This is not merely a matter of our opinion (for you would be justified in raising an eyebrow or two at the press-agentry and adjectives of a record company plugging a new star). It is the near-unanimous opinion of those who first raved to us about Teri, those who had advance opportunity to listen to this recording. Many of these enthusiasts have been veteran, hard-to-stampede musicians. For example, take the great guitarist, Freddie Green, who in his long career with the Basie band and in many recording studios has heard and worked with a vast number of major vocalists. Midway through the first session of this album, Freddie offered his unsolicited opinion: “This girl has got to make it. If she doesn’t, something’s very wrong.” We suspect that most listeners will agree with that sentiment – that, although it is dangerous to flatly predict who will “make it” in this very uncertain world, if Teri doesn’t quickly soar to the top it will surely be only because of some external, unlooked-for and unfair twist of fate.

   Born in Detroit on September 1, 1936, and raised a musical atmosphere, Teri was involved with dreams of music and show business just about as far back as she can remember. Largely self-trained, she began her professional career in 1956, at the Ebony Club in Cleveland, and spent the next few years learning her trade on the job throughout the Midwest, with emphasis on Chicago. Although her warm and distinctive contralto is not put through the sort of note-bending, stylized paces associated with the narrower definitions of being “a jazz singer,” Teri has from the first had jazz musicians in her corner. Chicago tenorman Johnny Griffin was the first to bring her to Riverside attention; Cannonball Adderley has praised her most emphatically; and the talented young arranger-pianist, Norman Simmons – whose scoring of all twelve selections adds so much to this album – eagerly welcomed this opportunity to work with Teri: he had accompanied her briefly in Chicago, and has been an ardent Thornton fan ever since.

   The recurring theme in musicians’ affection for Teri’s talents is that she herself in truly a musician, a high compliment to her deep musical feeling and innate ability to swing – qualities that are unfortunately more than moderately rare among vocalists.

   Backed by an impressive group that includes the immensely valuable piano support of Wynton Kelly, Teri sailed through the recording sessions with a relaxed ease that many a veteran would have envied. Her varied program begins with what she informs us in the first song she ever learned Lullaby of the Leaves, taught her by her mother. The title number, Devil May Care, is a powerful original by pianist-singer Bob Dorough. The haunting Left Alone has disturbingly near-autobiographically lyrics by Billie Holiday (written shortly before Billie’s death and never recorded by her). Detour Ahead was a Holiday specialty; Morning Glory is a lusty blues-favored Mary Lou Williams tune of the ‘30s; and the several standards range from the familiar to such an unaccountably neglected number as the lush Blue Champagne.

   All benefit from the unusual and remarkable Teri Thornton treatment in a first album that all of us strongly feel to be touched with the magic and excitement of the discovery of a richly talented and most appealing young singer, destined for real stardom.


Produced and noted written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF

Back-liner photographs by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK

Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER

Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios

Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.


235 West 4th Street, New York 36, New York

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