Ann Burton - New York State of Mind

A major jazz singer from the Netherlands, Ann Burton was born as Johanna “Ansie” Rafalowicz in 1933. She began her singing career in 1955, originally singing pop music in a style similar to Doris Day. But after hearing Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, she changed her musical focus and developed a style closer to Shirley Horn and Irene Kral. She began recording as a leader in 1967 and a decade later, made her only American recording, New York State Of Mind.

Accompanied by keyboardist Mike Renzi, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Grady Tate, Ann Burton is in top form throughout this set. The emphasis is on ballads but also includes a few medium-tempo pieces. Among the songs that she explores are Duke Ellington’s “All Too Soon” (one of two duet selections with Renzi), “You Started Something,” “I Can Dream Can’t I” and “Never Never Land.” Ann Burton’s perfect placement of notes, quiet emotional style and deep understanding of the words she interprets make this a haunting and memorable set.

SKU: IC1094

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This Inner City release was Burton's only record made in the United States, and is a shining example of this forgotten vocalist's wonderful talents. A rare release, not to be missed.

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Ann Burton
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor keyboardist Mike Renzi, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Grady Tate
SKU IC1094


Customer Reviews (2)

No Hiding - Discover Her Here!Review by Big Toots
There’s something rather unique about the vocal artistry and approach of the late Ann Burton. It’s as if there are two singers performing here. One artist is reserved, elegant and in touch with the emotion that emanates. The other is a cat ready to pounce, expand creatively, take a risk and embellish. Perhaps Burton’s experiences as a Jew living in hiding in Nazi-occupied The Netherlands during World War II might account psychologically for the former. Her exposure to and interest in vocal greats Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughn and this record’s producer, Helen Merrill, might account for the latter.

Originally recorded in New York in 1979, with New York State of Mind Burton gives us 10 fine selections drawn from the GAS and other shrewdly-selected sources (Broadway’s “Peter Pan,” a lesser-known Duke Ellington work, and pop music’s Billy Joel and Paul Simon). Recording here with a first-call rhythm section – pianist Mike Renzi, the vocalists’ accompanist, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer (and vocalist) Grady Tate (Grady “Taste?”) - the session is a terrific introduction to a singer renown in her home country but lesser-known elsewhere.

Burton demonstrates her vocal and textural versatility across this session most admirably. She covers the eponymous title tune “Piano Man” straight, then breaks out-of-shell into a swinging effort before returning to the original groove. “You Started Something,” (ghosting “I Can’t Get Started” and “Body and Soul”) is delivered tastefully and on which Burton’s lyric style shines. “I Can Dream Can’t I” (a Merrill favorite drawn from her own one-time recording mate, trumpeter Clifford Brown) is slow and luscious. That aforementioned pouncing cat of Burton’s lets fly elsewhere (“All or Nothing at All,” “Tell Me More”), however her smooth elegance and swing sense dominates this date (“All Too Soon,” “Never Never Land”). More swing, Maestra, More jazz, More you!

While Burton tragically had to hide to save her own life, it would be musically tragic if this fine vocalist’s talents were forgotten. This elegant and occasionally swinging recording will certainly help to avoid that.
(Posted on 4/28/2015)
New York State of MindReview by Simon Sez
While some Americans love to claim that only Americans can really play jazz, jazz has been an international music since near the beginning. Proof that there are great performers overseas can be heard on this CD since Ann Burton was from the Netherlands.

A very talented singer who was especially good on ballads, Ann Burton is accompanied by a New York rhythm section on this set from the 1970s. She picked good songs for this set including swing tunes, the lesser-known ‘Come In From The Rain” and Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind.” She really digs into the lyrics and her warm voice is very appealing, making this a keeper.

Simon Sez: Ann Burton was a very good jazz singer from the Netherlands. New York State Of Mind (IC1094) is one of her best albums.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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