Helen Merrill

Helen Merrill ( born July 21, 1930 in New York City as Jelena Ana Milcetic ) is an American jazz singer.

Life and work

Helen Merrill was born in 1930 in New York as a child of Croatian immigrants. At fourteen she began in the jazz clubs of the Bronx, such as the 845 Club to sing and went 1946/1947 with Reggie Childs on tour. During her marriage to Aaron Sachs did not occur. In 1952 she went with Earl Hines on tour. In the same year her first single A Cigarette For Company appeared. 1954 followed their first and to date most popular LP Helen Merrill, along with Clifford Brown and Oscar Pettiford for the label Emarcy, which was produced by Quincy Jones. In these first years of her career she worked with Earl Hines, Charles Mingus, Thad Jones, Charlie Byrd, Marian McPartland, Al Haig, Jim Hall, Elvin Jones, Ron Carter, Bill Evans and Stan Getz. 1956 was followed by the LP Dream Of You by Gil Evans ( arr, cond), Hank Jones ( p) Barry Galbraith ( g), Oscar Pettiford ( b ), Joe Morello ( d ) ( plus horn and string section ); In 1987 she took this album again with Gil Evans titled Collaboration on.

In the 1950s to the 1970s, it had among musicians nicknamed "the Sigh of New York" ( the sigh of NY); She sang with most of the major bands of that time. Helen Merrill also lived for several years in Europe, where she recorded albums in Italy, France and Norway. In 1963 she toured with George Gruntz in Japan ( Helen Merrill in Tokyo), where she lived for a while. In 1972 she settled down in New York; since the 70's they usually worked at their albums with her husband, pianist and arranger Torrie Zito, together, in 1994 at their Clifford Brown Brownie Homage and their album Carousel ( 1996) with songs by the Finnish composer Heikki Sarmanto. However, they also took on with John Lewis, Stéphane Grappelli / Steve Lacy / Gordon Beck ( 1986) and Wayne Shorter (1992). 2000 appeared the CD Jelena Ana Milcetic AKA Helen Merrill. The time being last element of their long discography forms Lilac Wine ( 2004).