Guitarist Herb Ellis is joined by rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, pianist Ross Tompkins, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna for this lightly swinging but uneventful program which has been reissued on CD. Since Green as usual does not solo, his contribution is purely as a background player. Ellis, Tompkins and Brown are the lead voices on a variety of swing tunes; best are "It Had To Be You," "A Smooth One" and "When My Dream Boat Comes Home".
Many have compared Marlena Shaw's range, class and swing to that of eternal jazz lights Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson. This 1972 release was Shaw's debut for Blue Note and includes a blend of pop songs and show tunes, arranged and conducted by Wade Marcus. Shaw had just ended a four-year stint as a vocalist in Count Basie's orchestra which earned her an historic contract as the first female vocalist signed to Blue Note, an association that yielded five albums and several singles.
Marlena Shaw was the first female vocalist signed to Blue Note and this album, from 1973, was her second for the label. As the title hints, Shaw blends soul with jazz on this material that includes R&B hits from the era alongside Randy Edelman and Fox and Gimbel compositions, even an original tune from Shaw. The album was produced by famed jazz producer and music executive Dr. George Butler who put together a line up of great musicians to support Shaw including Ron Carter on bass, Grady Tate on drums and guitarist Hugh McCracken.