I have been a Carmen McRae fan since receiving "Carmen McRae Sings Monk" as a gift from a family friend on my sixteenth birthday. I immersed myself in this music and came out wiser, hipper, and more grounded — and my well had been dug a little deeper.
One of the things that I love about Carmen's singing is her commitment to the lyrics. She sings like a great orator who delivers their message, making every word hang in the air as if it is the most important thing in the world. For me, Carmen McRae is the perfect voice to interpret Thelonious Monk's material with lyrical conviction. I wouldn't consider McRae's singing light even when she sings lightly. This is a bold, full-bodied listen for feeling real things at real depths. This is a foreground listening experience.
This album introduced me to two of my greatest influences. Carmen McRae and Thelonious Monk. I am often working with concepts that I have learned from their music, and I am certain that I will be learning from them for the rest of my life.
If you want an engaging listening experience with music of substance, I recommend this album wholeheartedly.