How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
With her third release for Chase Music Group, the California based Julie Kelly has spawned a gem. This performance is a carefully crafted and joyful celebration of the music of June Christy. June Christy (1925-1990) began her career with Stan Kenton’s band during the mid 1940s. Her relationship with Kenton sax star, Bob Cooper resulted in a marriage that lasted until her death in 1990. The Misty Miss Christy enjoyed superstar status among jazz lovers. June was “the coolest.”
While Christy considered herself lucky to have worked with arrangers who understood her way with a song, Julie Kelly turned to Tom Garvin. The two consulted with Bob Cooper, Pete Rugolo, Lou Levy, Bill Perkins and others who worked with Christy over the years. They put together a great bunch of California’s best musicians and went into the studio last autumn. The CD was released September 7th and is already being considered for Grammy nomination in the arranging category.
The CD has many highpoints and the first is Lazy Afternoon where Julie’s sensuous voice blends beautifully with Tom Peterson’s saxophone artistry. You may recall Tom’s work with Wynton Marsalis. Another is a fine rendition of Lionel Hampton’s “Midnight Sun” and Julie shares the spotlight with Stacy Rowles. Rowles is very well regarded on the west coast as one of the finest flugelhorn studio musicians. Don’t ask; Stacy is the daughter of the late Jimmy Rowles. The entire CD is a shining example of a singer truly at home with her musicians.
The music of Kurt Weill usually leaves me cold. Julie Kelly turns Weill’s “Lonely House” into a song you hope will never end. Talk about selling a song; this one is breathtaking. Every Christy fan will ask if Something Cool is included. Of course it is! Kelly does an outstanding job with the classic and will probably agree with me that June really OWNED the tune and that’s the way it will remain.
This is a great album and I highly recommend it, even if you have the originals on your shelf. The West Coast continues to bring wonderful sounds to the jazz scene.
Track Listing: There's No You, Something Cool, It Might As Well Be Spring, Thou Swell, Lazy Afternoon, Gone For The Day, It's So Peaceful In The Country, It's A Most Unusual Day, Midnight Sun, The Best Thing For You, Lonely House.
Personnel: Julie Kelly, vocals, Tom Garvin, Piano and arrangements, Dave Carpenter, Bass, Steve Houghton, Drums, Stacy Rowles, Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Bill Perkins, Pete Christlieb, Tom Peterson, Rob Lockhart, Saxes, and Brad Dutz, Percussion.