Beaky: Speak Beak (2004)
Her smoky voice makes Beaky's debut swing with an easy-to-like presence. The familiar jazz standards that she interprets find their way into your heart without a hitch. She transports her audience off into some distant nightclub in the wee hours, after most of the regulars have gone home. Intimacy is her forte. At once, you feel like you're there.
Guitar, saxophone and piano surround Beaky's vocal interpretations with plenty of supplemental melodies. Michael Ross, Carl Coan and Hunter Adams provide lovely airs in support of her vocal impressions. Add a bass and drum foundation, and you have a stellar ensemble for this debut performance.
Beaky (Regina Johnson) identifies with the passion that we've experienced from veterans such as Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald. Comparisons, of course, can lead in many directions: some favorable and some not so favorable. A major portion of the session gets swept away with a casual look at these standards, in which the singer merely goes through the motions. Beaky has her own voice, however, and she exhibits her best work when taking things with an original musical sense. Her best interpretation comes with "Will You Still Be Mine," where her genuine feel for the song oozes naturally. Here, she's at ease and allows the melody to flow sincerely. The session, while recalling an intimate, straight-ahead vocal affair, relies on the ensemble's teamwork for its success.
Track Listing: Moonlight in Vermont; Black Coffee; A Foggy Day; But Not For Me; Willow Weep For Me; Skylark; You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To; The Man I Love; Will You Still Be Mine; Angel Eyes.
Personnel: Beaky- vocals; Hunter Adams- piano; Carl Coan- tenor saxophone; Michael Ross- guitar; Mark Piane- bass; Tyrone Blair- drums.