I recently stumbled upon Helen Merrill's version of "What's New" with Max Roach and Clifford Brown:


There are many great things about this version --- including the work of Roach and Brown --- but most of all, I was mesmerized by Merrill's singing.

Because I did not know Merrill, I was excited to hear more from her. After listening to some of her discography, I was a little disappointed not to find other songs where she sings with the same contrast of a voice at times whispery and almost fragile, and at times full and filled with her graceful vibrato, as in her version of "What's New”. (Don’t get me wrong, I found many great things listening to her, just not quite “that”.)

My question: do you know of any other recording/albums from Merrill where her singing is similar to that in "What's New"?

I am mostly interested in songs in which her range of tones is comparable to "What's New”. To give an example, this version of "Solitude" gets close to emulating the aspect of her singing in "What’s New" that I like:


This version of “I’m just a lucky so and so” not so:


I realize that this may be partly subjective and that there is a little bit of that whispery voice and variation in tones in most of Merrill’s recording. I hope others see the contrast that I see between "What’s New" and other songs of hers and can direct me toward other songs where she is “as extreme” as in "What’s New" in her use of this contrast.

  • I'm afraid your question may be opinion based because after listening other Helen Merrill songs, I still find she has a beautiful voice (intinations and finesse...) in all songs. – Bebs Mar 31 '17 at 7:27
  • I understand that my description of what I am looking for lacks preciseness. It's probably partly opinion based. But I'll try to be more precise – Martin Van der Linden Mar 31 '17 at 14:19

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