Sunday, February 2, 2020

CD Review: Kelley Johnson, "Something Good"


Vocalist and Arranger Kelley Johnson has released her 5th CD, "Something Good".  In this new CD, Kelley has chosen 10 familiar standards where she applied her own unique interpretation.  I have said many times that one of the tests I like to use when evaluating a new performer is how they approach a tried and true standard.   A lot of vocalists I hear singing standards simply use past recordings of the standard and the result, most times, is a rehashing of a familiar song.  However, Kelley approaches each familiar song from her own unique understanding of the music and lyric.  Her voice is silky and rich and her all important phrasing is new and spot on.   As I listened to "Something Good" I was struck with the ease of her delivery and a sound that feels effortless.  These are the classic skills of an accomplished Jazz Vocalist, and there is no doubt the Kelley Johnson delivers all these skills.

Kelley Johnson chose all the songs on her CD not just because they're great songs, but because they resonate with her on a deeper level.  In Kelley's words " These songs are about being an artist, being a partner, and being a daughter.  Like most people, I'm trying to maintain meaningful relationships and continue pursuing love and music with all the glory and humility that we need to keep our balance in an every-changing world.  Whether a song is about art or love or spiritual pursuit, it's really all the same path to acceptance."   Beautiful words, beautifully said Kelley!  Thanks for sharing your vocal inspirations with us!

Joining Kelley on this CD are some of the best musicians from the Pacific Northwest.  On Piano is Kelley's husband and performing partner, John Hansen who is one of the finest Jazz pianists in the Northwest.  Hansen provides wonderful support for Kelley which has been developed over 20 years of performing together.  Michael Glynn who has performed with Jazz legends such as Bud Shank, Jon Hendricks, Dave Grusin and Eric Alexander is on Bass and Veteran Drummer, Kendrick Scott adds perfect finish to the rhythm section.  Versatile  multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas is a Seattle Jazz legion and performs Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax and Trumpet on this CD.

Playlist:
1. "Anyone Can Whistle"
2. "Goodbye To Love"
3. "You Do Something to Me"
4. "Lullaby of Birdland"
5. "Let's Do It"
6. "Some Other Time"
7. "Tip Toe"
8. "Unforgettable"
9. "You For Me"
10. "Something Good"

Players:
1. Kelley Johnson- Vocals, Whistle
2. John Hansen- Piano
3. Michael Glynn- Bass
4. Kendrick Scott- Drums
5. Jay Thomas- Soprano and Tenor Sax, Trumpet

I have attached two "YouTubes" videos of two cuts from "Something Good".  The first is the fine Stephen Sondheim tune "Anyone Can Whistle"  and the second one is a creative, new approach to the George Shearing classic, "Lullaby of Birdland".





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