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The Nina Simone Database

Great Ladies of Jazz (The Sullivan Years)
Additional discography

TVT 450-2 (1995 US)

Collective album by Nina Simone (2 tracks), Lena Horne, Carmen McRae, Keely Smith, Chris Connor, Sarah Vaughan. Nina's tracks was recorded on September 11, 1960 at The Ed Sullivan Show that ran on CBS from 1948 to 1961.
Tracks sorted by number (sort by session or by title)
 1 [2:59] Love Me or Leave Me   Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn

 2 [3:47] I Loves You Porgy   George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward

Liner Notes
The years spanned by "Great Ladies of Jazz" (1949-64) were unsettling ones in the history of that American music. Most jazz fans felt as shaken up as dice in a box. From Bebop to Cool to the Avant-Garde, the security of swinging jazz was under attack (or so it seemed at the time) on all sides. Looking back, it was the popular jazz vocalists who held the center, and nowadays it's easy to see how much they have in common with present colleagues, and feel the singing tradition as the unshakeable heart of jazz.
To those of us old enough to remember those days--those of us who've been voting for a few years now--Ed Sullivan conjures up indelible memories. The Beatles. The talking mouse. A few lunatics twirling dozens of dinner plates of spears. Comics who, in retrospect, were destined to become part of the culture. And every Sunday night there were always the singers, who usually did one number early in the show and another towards the end--in a generosity of performing time almost unknown on television today.
Thus the Ed Sullivan Show is--along with being a treasury of fine performances--a true time capsule. We can look back and listen and reflect on how certain singers inscribed their names and their wonderful voices for posterity and how others, perhaps as talented, are rarely re-issued and hence recalled. What's best is that thanks to compilations like this one we can enjoy them all, remember what's been forgotten, and celebrate who they were.

Nina Simone (b. 1933, North Carolina) began as a classical pianist from an early age, and her prodigious scope of expression--a voice by turns defiant, whiplike, elegant, always singular--depends on her precise playing to set it off. Her stage name was taken to conceal her first nightclub gig from her mother in 1954; her first record appeared in '58, with its huge hit "I Loves You Porgy." (It also included "My Baby Just Cares For Me," which 3 decades later, rejuvenated in a Chanel commercial, has given her a European Top Ten single.) Her performance here of "Love Me or Leave Me" contains the unmistakable Simone touch of swing-Bach.