Her vocal qualities and spirit recall Carmen McRae. The piano trio with whom she works takes the listener into a nightclub and away from the bright lights. It’s intimate music.
Singer Julie Kelly has captured the charm that turned her on to jazz in the first place. Monk, Brubeck, Basie, Miles and Gil, Mingus, Bobby Hutcherson and many more started her on this road. A year performing in South America with Brazilian bands has aided in Kelly’s development and expanded her horizon. Audio samples of “The Folks Who Live on the Hill” and “Love for Sale” are available from her web site .
Two Brazilian songs create several of the album’s higher points. Djavan’s “Upside Down” and Ivan Lins’ “Kisses” add guitar, Portuguese lyrics, and more. But the best part of the album comes in the form of the blues. With piano trio, Jeff Clayton and Larry Koonse unleash Sonny Stitt’s “Blues Steps.” The spirited jam session features scat singing and solos all around. When saxophone, guitar and voice start trading fours, you know you’re in tall cotton. Treasured songs by Stitt, Alan Broadbent, Lins, Michel Legrand, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Harold Arlen place Kelly’s fifth album a notch above the rest. Coming from a talent deserving wider recognition, and one who’s paid her dues, this album is guaranteed to take the listener on a musical trip – away from the harsh realities and toward a more intimate nightlife location.
Personnel: Julie Kelly- vocals; Bill Cunliffe- piano; Tom Warrington- bass; Joe La Barbera- drums; Larry Koonse- guitar; Brad Dutz- percussion; Jody Burnett- cello on