Many have compared Marlena Shaw's range, class and swing to that of eternal jazz lights Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson. This 1972 release was Shaw's debut for Blue Note and includes a blend of pop songs and show tunes, arranged and conducted by Wade Marcus. Shaw had just ended a four-year stint as a vocalist in Count Basie's orchestra which earned her an historic contract as the first female vocalist signed to Blue Note, an association that yielded five albums and several singles.
Marlena Shaw has been a consistently popular soul and jazz artist wordwide for over four decades thanks to anthems like "Woman Of The Ghetto" and "California Soul ". Originally released in 1979, "Take A Bite" was her third and final album for Columbia Records but unlike its predecessors, the first part of the original LP had a specific musical concept and construct. Working with highly successful disco producers Meco Menardo and Tony Bongiovi (with hits by Gloria Gaynor, etc.) and respected musical arranger/producer Harold Wheeler, the first six tracks were created as a non-stop dance music extravaganza, "Suite Seventeen," strung together with a disco reading of Frank Sinatra's "It Was A Very Good Year" and one of Marlena's famous monologues ("I'm A Foster Child").
"A thoroughly researched and fascinating survey of Shaw's relations with French culture, containing a wealth of new information. Indispensable for every library and for any scholar henceforth investigating Shaw and the French."– John A. Bertolini, Middlebury College