Friday, September 26, 2014

CD Review: Julie Kelly "Happy To Be"

My first listening introduction to Julie Kelly was by way of her new CD "Happy To Be".  After listening to just the first few songs, it became clear why Julie is one of the most respected Jazz singers on the West Coast.  If anyone ever asks you to define Jazz singing, save your time and theirs by simply telling them to listen to Julie Kelly and her CD "Happy To Be". Julie's pure warm voice has a sensibility to melody and lyric that's very rare.  Her selection of songs on this CD reinforces her perfect taste in the best in melody and her wonderful lyric writing abilities.  She wrote the lyrics for two songs on the CD, "The Blues According to Orpheus" and "For Joni".   "For Joni" began as a poem she wrote for Joni Mitchell.  Tierney Sutton the marvelous Jazz singer in her own right calls this tune nothing less than a "gorgeous anthem" to all who love Joni Mitchell.

One of the essential talents that all Jazz singers need to develop is the ability to pick the best  musicians who will lift the singer to higher levels.  The musicians Julie has selected to support her on this CD are spectacular!  Bill Cunliffe has worked with Julie on other projects and is a widely respected pianist and Grammy Award-winning arranger, Anthony Wilson the outstanding guitarist who works with only the best musicians including Diana Krall, Tom Warrington known as one of the best Bass players in the country, world-class Drummer Joe LaBarbera who worked with Bill Evans for years and a Horn section comprised of A-list players including Bob Sheppard, Clay Jenkins, Ron Stout and Bob McChesney.  Also, there is an additional contribution made by the following fine musicians:  Walter Rodriguez, Percussion, Kim Richmand, Saxophone and on Vibes the "superb" Nick Mancini.

Julie Kelly has given the Jazz world a wonderful gift of great music that validates that Jazz singing still has a special place in today's music scene!

I have attached a "You-Tube" video of Julie singing "You're The Dangerous Type" from her CD "Happy To Be".

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