Although not initially released until 1992, 25 years after composer Billy Strayhorn's death, this is his definitive CD. Strayhorn is heard singing "Lush Life" while backed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1964 (his voice is not strong but his phrasing is quite sincere), jamming on piano with flügelhornist Clark Terry and Bob Wilbur (on clarinet and soprano) in a quintet, backing singer Ozzie Bailey, and taking a pair of piano solos ("Love Came" and "Baby Clementine"). These are very valuable and intriguing recordings, shedding some new light on a nearly invisible genius.
Nancy Wilson was one of the few jazz-based pop singers of the 1960s who was able to navigate that decade's rock & roll-crazed waters and stay on top of the single and album charts. While her natural physical beauty certainly didn't hurt her career, it was probably her honest feel for soul and the blues, as well as jazz, that had her riding high during a time when so many of her peers were being dropped by the major labels or moving to Europe. Lush Life follows Wilson's winning formula of combining jazz and adult pop, but while individual tracks stand out, a heavy Barbra Streisand influence hurts the disc overall.
Lush Life (also released as Sweet Slumber) is an album by jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson recorded for the Blue Note label in 1967 and featuring Donaldson with Freddie Hubbard, Garnett Brown, Jerry Dodgion, Wayne Shorter, Pepper Adams, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, and Al Harewood performing arrangements by Duke Pearson. Due to the success of Donaldson's Alligator Bogaloo (1967) the album was not released until 1980 in Japan under the title Sweet Slumber and then finally released decades later internationally.