Irene Reid was the epitome of the Uptown Blues sound of the Big Apple. When Reid hit the band stand she hit it hard and took no prisoners. It was always hot and it was all ways going to be smoking. Few people may know that Reid's rise to fame in the business came from singing with the Count Basie Band in the early 60's. Fewer still may know she was Joe Williams replacement. Irene Reid's church background served her well giving her that special vibrant vocal prowess and mix of power and intensity that could hit you on either the visceral or cerebral level. Reid eventually had her own band and dropped a couple of big-band releases for Verve back when they were releasing real jazz records but perhaps her biggest claim to fame came in the cast of the Broadway show, "The Wiz."
There are those artists that seem to emerge brimming with talent and then for what ever reason fade into the wood work for a period of time. Very few of these artists get that second chance but back in 1997 after roughly twenty years in the jazz witness protection program, Reid emerged on Savant records at the recommendation of B-3 organ titan Charles "The Mighty Burner" Earland. Reid release several recordings on this great label and this particular performance captures Reid at her very best.
This is a collection of her best work pulled from five of her six releases on the Savant label and three of the releases are from her killer work with Charles Earland. The all star band included finds Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone, Jim Rotondi on trumpet along with Bob Devos and Greg Rockingham. The reharm done to the Fats Domino classic "I'm Walking" allows Reid to throw down her own unique brand of Uptown Blues along with "Long John Blues" and her own tune "One Eyed Man." Another Reid original is "Big Fat Daddy" which closes what could essentially pass for a greatest hits release and captures the joy and spirit that truly made Irene Reid The Queen Of The Party!
If you enjoy a party and want to hear the real deal of what a Harlem jazz club was like on a Saturday night then this release is right up your alley!
Tracks: Million Dollar Secret; I'm Getting Tired; If I Never Get To Heaven; I'm Walkin'; Aiming At Nothing; Once There Lived A Fool; Long John Blues; One Eyed Man; I Took The Backdoor Out; I Ain't Doing Too Bad; I'll Take You Back; Big Fat Daddy.