March 7, 2012

Album of the Week: Teresa Brewer

This week’s album is from “the little girl with the big voice” who popped to the top of the 1950s hit parade with perky, relentlessly cheerful songs, then reinvented herself as an exuberant jazz singer in the 1970s. Teresa Brewer first began performing at age five and cut her first record before she was 18, and had her first success with the song “Music, Music, Music,” which she would record several times over her career. She recorded over 600 songs in her career

After her first flush of fame had ended she was happy to be homemaker. After her second marriage to jazz producer Bob Thiele, she started to record and release jazz albums with sidemen including Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Some jazz critics praised her performances for both musicality and emotionality. Nat Hentoff wrote: “Teresa Brewer is irrepressibly herself, constantly evolving, constantly enjoying the surprise of herself. The woman is a phenomenon.”

She was drawn by Hirschfeld in 1981 for the cover of this album, which features her interpretations of classic Irving Berlin songs.

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