Supposedly the first jazz imprint in black ownership since the 1920s, the Black Jazz label had its roots in the Black Power movement of the late 60s and early 70s. But not every album of the label had a social message. Kellee Patterson's Maiden Voyage was simply an extremely tasteful, smooth jazz vocal album, recorded with the first-class sidemen that characterised Black Jazz sessions. Patterson became famous as the first black woman (submitted under her real name Patterson) to win the Miss Indiana contest, culminating in a performance of "My Funny Valentine" in the Miss America Pageant. Her success led to several appearances as an actress (the television shows The Streets of San Francisco and The Dukes of Hazzard and the film Demolition Man), a brief encounter with Hollywood fame (she was romantically involved with talk show host Johnny Carson for a short time), and she signed with Gene Russell for her recording debut on Black Jazz (Russell later produced more LPs for Patterson on the Shadybrook label).
The 1973 maiden voyage is highlighted by Patterson's beautiful vocal rendition of Herbie Hancock's theme song by Patterson, supported by such first-class players as long-time George Duke sideman John Heard on acoustic bass and Ray Charles tour band member George Harper on flute. Our re-release of Real Gone was remastered by Mike Milchner at Sonic Vision for CD and vinyl, with LP lacquer cuttings by Clint Holley and Dave Polster at Well Made Music, and includes new liner notes by Listen author Pat Thomas, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, a significant, if uncharacteristic, entry in the Black Jazz catalogue!
Article properties: Kellee Patterson: Maiden Voyage (LP)