This is Judith Kay's fifth album. Why haven't you heard of her? Kay is a "regional" artist, performing in the Delaware-Philadelphia area. For five years she was also sidelined from guitar playing by Repetitive Strain Injury ( Vol. 1
was recorded before that).
After listening to this whole album, recorded in 2000, I realized that the absence of other instruments was not a problem. Maybe that's because the sound is so direct, as if you and the artist are in the same room. Kay's singing is very pretty, even when she's bending notes. She's a fine acoustic guitarist, with heavy Brazilian influence. A friend who speaks Portuguese tells me she's very adept in that language, sung on three of the tunes.
The album's two Jobim tunes are well-delivered instrumentals. Kay really shines instrumentally on John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice", a unique treatment which includes scatting. I had never before heard Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's "It Amazes Me", but it's a lovely ballad melodically and lyrically. Apparently Kay has a penchant for clever lyrics, true of both "O Pato" (The Duck), with lyrics by Jon Hendricks, and "Small Day Tomorrow" by Bob Dorough and Fran Landesman. The remaining standards are all beautifully interpreted, many with varied rhythms and seamless modulations.
This album is only available from www.judithkay.com .