The Artistry of Helen Merrill
This is a rare Helen Merrill folk-oriented album from 1965, with songs from all over the world. Perhaps it was her Croatian upbringing, but very few jazz singers sound as natural singing non-jazz material as Merrill does. She sounds just like herself (which she always does anyway), with no particular adjustment to a straighter idiom, as if she had to shed herself of jazz sophistication in order to become more "innocent." Highlights include the quasi-folk bossa nova "Quiet Nights" and "Itsi No Komoriuta." The great Charlie Byrd is on board, to provide the requisite acoustic accompaniment, as is Jimmy Giuffre on clarinet.