One thing Concord Jazz cannot be accused of is failing to document Ernestine Anderson's live performances. When the veteran jazz singer was recording for Concord in the late '70s, '80s, and early '90s, the label put out several live albums that featured her extensively. Here's the thing: Not all of those albums were released under Anderson's own name -- she was employed as a featured vocalist for pianist George Shearing, the Frank Capp/Nat Pierce Juggernaut, and a band that was billed as the Concord All Stars. Anderson's live performances of 1987-1990 are the focus of this excellent two-CD set, which Concord assembled in 2002 -- and none of the recordings are from the singer's own albums. The all-star release Live at the 1990 Concord Jazz Festival (Third Set)
is heard in its entirety, and I Love Being Here With You
also contains material from albums by Shearing (Dexterity
), the Concord All-Stars (Ow!
), and the Capp/Pierce big band (Live at the Alley Cat
). This double CD shows Anderson to be a highly soulful and hard-swinging interpreter of standards, but for all her passion and bluesy grit, she is highly sensitive on performances of "Please Send Me Someone to Love," "Street of Dreams," "I Should Care," and "Skylark." Historically, Anderson has had a way of attracting R&B and blues lovers, and it is no coincidence that this collection contains versions of "Down Home Blues" (the gem that the late bluesman Z.Z. Hill
is best remembered for) and the Crusaders
' "Never Make Your Move Too Soon" (which is heard twice). If you're the sort of listener who is capable of enjoying Carmen McRae
or Ella Fitzgerald
one minute and Aretha Franklin
or Etta James
the next, I Love Being Here With You
is well worth the price of admission.