Don’t Explain – 1968

Carmen McRae

A quietly heartbreaking version of the Billie Holiday classic

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Carmen McRae (1922-94), while influenced by Billie Holiday and to a lesser extent Sarah Vaughan, had her own way of singing jazz, often phrasing behind-the-beat and infusing the music with a caustic wit sung in her very individual voice.

This version of Lady Day’s “Don’t Explain” was filmed in 1968 during a television special by the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Orchestra that featured the singer on a few numbers.

Carmen McRae sings a quietly emotional and haunting version of “Don’t Explain” while accompanied by pianist Francy Boland, bassist Jimmy Woode and her ex-husband drummer Kenny Clarke.

-Scott Yanow


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