One of the best things about all of the limited edition series out there is that occasionally an obscure oddity gets released. Not necessarily a record that people have sought after, but more like one that many never even knew existed and thus never clamored for its release.
Such is the case with 'Round Midnight, recorded in 1965 and one of only three records that Andy and the Bey Sisters made. Andy, Salome, and Geraldine Bey were siblings who sang in tight three part vocal harmonies in a blend of jazz, R&B, and bluesthat owed more to contemporary AM radio than any of the jazz vocal groups of the past. Their recordings were virtually ignored, despite an earnest (and largely successful) attempt to wed jazz singing and the more popular R&B into a potent swinging mix. As an added bonus, notable sidemen, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Osie Johnson are on hand (Andy Bey plays understated piano) and guitarist Kenny Burrell sits in on half the tracks.
There's no denying the power of the ethereal harmonies on "God Bless The Child the title track, and a rousing version of the Ray Charles tune, "Hallelujah, I Love Her So, that is appropriately swinging. But as interesting an approach as it is, things tend to wear thin by the end, even though the record is barely over a half an hour long.
As an added surprise, this session is also available in a 2000 release paired with their other Prestige session on one CD. Thus you might be tempted to seek it out, if you're not overly concerned about having the superb Van Gelder re-mastering.
'Round Midnight is an odd choice for a release, one that will continue to struggle to find an audience today. As an oddity of vocal jazz, it's a pleasant record but probably won't inspire you to seek out more of the material; neither is it one you'll return to that often.
Personnel: Salome Bey: vocals; Geraldine Bey: vocals; Andy Bey: vocals, piano; Kenny Burrell: guitar; Milt Hinton: bass; Osie Johnson: drums.