Maxine Sullivan reminds me of sunlight coming through the window: her cheery delivery, her preference for medium-up tempos, as if saying, “Look, it’s all going to be all right,” her delight in pure singing and in improvising subtle variations. Even when she sings songs theoretically about heartbreak, such as EV’RY TIME (“I’m going to hate all you men.”) it’s clear she is grinning at the hyperbole of the lyrics, as she does with what’s really a tale of romantic betrayal, SURPRISE PARTY. She isn’t the Princess of Darkness; she is a good-humored beacon of swing.
Here’s a short set filled with songs (Maxine liked, in Louis’ words, to “keep it rolling”) from the 1980 Manassas Jazz Festival, with an extra-special band, even though only Dill Jones gets an extended solo. Maxine is accompanied by Connie Jones, cornet; Dill Jones, piano; Spencer Clark, bass saxophone; Cliff Leeman, drums; Van Perry, string bass; Butch Hall, guitar, performing SURPRISE PARTY / I’VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING / EV’RY TIME / A HUNDRED YEARS FROM TODAY / THEY ALL LAUGHED / YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME / I’M COMIN’ VIRGINA / WE JUST COULDN’T SAY GOODBYE // This video is from the collection of the late Joe Shepherd:
Sunlight, pure sunlight, streaming in.
May your happiness increase!