Bea Abbott – The Too, Too Marvelous Bea Abbott With The Hal Otis Quintet

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Bea Abbott (1925-2007) was a sultry singer from Rhode Island who started singing as a high-school student in Providence. Her good looks and pretty voice soon got her a break in New York at the age of 19, as the featured vocalist of the Boyd Raeburn orchestra for a few weeks in June 1944. After brief stints in various dance bands, she began building her reputation as a single on the Eastern club circuit, until the early Fifties, when she settled in Chicago, and sang to lounge audiences for the most part of the following two decades.

Bea’s only album, “The Too, Too Marvelous Bea”, was recorded in 1957 by Westminster Records. It includes a collection of rhythm tunes and ballads, which allows her to swing but also to demonstrate her more tender and sensitive side. Her warm and pliant voice was deftly backed by the quintet of violinist Hal Otis, who reinforced the set’s general atmosphere of lighthearted swinging, not only responding tastefully to Bea’s moody vocals, but also contributing eight instrumental sides from his own Westminster album “Out of Nowhere.”

There were many commercially successful vocalists in Bea Abbot’s time who could not match her intonation and sympathetic understanding of lyrics, and it seems unfair that she is largely forgotten today. As this CD shows, she deserves a better fate than that.

Track Listing:
BEA ABBOTT with The Hal Otis Quintet: 1. Just You, Just Me (Greer-Klages) - 1:51   2. I Hadn't Anyone Till You (Ray Noble) - 3:18   3. Mountain Greenery (Rodgers-Hart) - 1:28   4. The Very Thought of You (Ray Noble) - 3:56   5. Someone to Watch Over Me (G.& I.Gershwin) - 2:50   6. Day In - Day Out (Bloom-Mercer) - 2:49   7. How Did He Look? (Silver-Shelley) - 3:35   8. This Love of Mine (Parker-Sanicola-Sinatra) - 2:58   9. Why Shouldn't I? (Cole Porter) - 3:04   10. Too Marvelous for Words (Whiting-Mercer) - 3:01   11. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers-Hart) - 3:09   12. It Had to Be You (Jones-Kahn) - 3:59   13. I See Your Face Before Me (Schwartz-Dietz) - 3:10   14. April in Paris (Duke-Harburg) - 3:01   15. I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Jimmy McHugh-Dorothy Fields) - 3:26   16. Almost Like Being In Love (Loewe-Lerner) - 1:56   The HAL OTIS Quintet (Instrumental performances): 17. Out of Nowhere (Green-Heyman) - 3:14   18. Indiana (Hanley-MacDonald) - 2:37   19. Tea for Two (Youmans-Caesar) - 3:25   20. Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie-Pinkard-Casey) - 2:06   21. Love Is Just Around the Corner (Gensler-Robin) - 4:08   22. Oh, Lady Be Good (G. & I.Gershwin) - 3:40   23. I Got Rhythm (G. & I.Gershwin) - 2:17   24. Dinah (Akst-Lewis-Young) - 2:51


Tracks #2,4,5 & 6-14, from the album "Bea Abbott - The Too, Too Marvelous Bea" (Westminster WP6078 Mono)
Tracks #1,3 & 15-24 from the album "Hal Otis Quintet - Out of Nowhere" (Westminster WST15027 Stereo)

The information above indicates on which LP these tracks were originally issued, but the master for tracks #1-5 on this CD comes from the Sterephonic Sonotape "The Remarkable Voice of Bea Abbott" (Westminster SWB 7035)

Bea Abbott (vocals, on #1-16), Hal Otis (violin), Joe Vito (accordion & piano), John Gray (guitar), Lennie Miller (bass), and Nicke Addante (drums).

Recorded in New York City, November 1957
Original recordings produced by Hal Otis and supervised by James Grayson
Original cover photo: Stephen Heiser

This CD compilation produced by Jordi Pujol