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Teresa Brewer

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Teresa Brewer

We Love You Fats

We Love You Fats cover

Teresa Brewer had a big pop career from 1951 to 1958 with several big hits like "Jingle Bell Rock," "Music, Music, Music," "Till I Waltz Again With You,"and "Ricochet." Nonetheless she yearned to be a jazz singer, or at least sing with jazz musicians. She managed to get herself into studios with the likes of Shelly Manne, Bobby Hackett, and even Count Basie and Duke Ellington. We Love You Fats is one of the albums in what might be called the Teresa Brewer Jazz Series, this time with the inestimable Earl "Fatha" Hines. Other pop stars could and did cross over to sing jazz, or at least sing jazzy, and do it quite successfully. Doris Day, Jo Stafford, and even Dinah Shore are notable examples. It didn't seem that easy for Brewer if this album is any indication. Her cute, bright, and highly nasal sounding voice does not consistently exhibit a jazz feeling. There are some good cuts here. If you can ignore the incongruity of a white pop star singing a lament about a dark skinned girl longing for her lighter skinned lover, she does a credible job with "Black and Blue." Her sassiness goes well with the little heard Fats Waller/Andy Razaf "Find out What They Like" and she does quite well with a medium-slow "Honeysuckle Rose," the best track on the set. Certainly producer Bob Thiele got the best to back Brewer. With Hines at the piano, Milt Hinton and Grady Tate on bass and drums respectively, and Bucky Pizzarelli on one cut a wag might conclude that this would have been a great LP if Brewer wasn't present. Not so. Though not completely at ease in the jazz genre, her earnestness for the music is apparent and that can overcome a lot of the technical shortcomings. Despite its title there is an instrumental medley of two non-Waller tunes.

Review by Dave Nathan


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