The larger-than-life personality of Pearl Bailey (1918-1990) is celebrated in this gloriously entertaining compilation of her best recordings, the finest of her available CDs. With her centenary falling this year, the African-American entertainer is fondly remembered for her zestful individuality on record, stage and screen. She was a Broadway hit in such as St. Louis Woman and the all-black Hello, Dolly! and hosted her own popular TV series, and among her many films were Carmen Jones and Porgy And Bess.
The risqué Takes Two To Tango was Pearl Bailey’s biggest record success, and the top ten hit is also the title of Retrospective’s compilation of her very best recordings; from 1944 when she sang with Cootie Williams’ band (Tess’ Torch Song), through to 1953 when her musical arranger was Don Redman (As Long As I Live...). In fact the jazz influence is strong and the many fine jazz musicians featured include the likes of Taft Jordan and Charlie Shavers. Pearl’s bouncy personality is very much to the fore in a number of engaging duets with Frank Sinatra (A Little Learning Is A Dangerous Thing), Hot Lips Page (Baby, It’s Cold Outside...) and Moms Mabley (Saturday Night Fish Fry).