423

Andy Bey: Ain't Necessarily So

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
Andy Bey: Ain't Necessarily So Singer Andy Bey is less well known as a pianist, but nowadays he leads his trio from the piano stool, his instrumental wanderlust having an equal capacity to his voice for taking a saunter down the less familiar alleyways. This live album was recorded a decade back at Birdland, in what was effectively Bey's first significant New York residency as a leader. He's joined by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington on most of the numbers, with sticksman Vito Lesczak sitting in on two tracks.

Bey's set is standard-based, unlike his more out-there work in the 1970s, but in a cunningly subversive way, he manages to tinker with even the most familiar material, literally unstitching it until it slides down from the bandstand, where it will then wrap its tender tendrils around both the audience or the armchair listener. Choices that include "All The Things You Are," "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? and the title track don't end up sounding tiresomely routine, but take on a freshness that is now increasingly difficult to maintain.

Bey is blessed with a commanding voice that can easily swoop from a falsetto down to a vibrato-ed thundering, taking his phrasing from gospel, blues and soul, then projecting it as if from a theatrical stage, or even a pulpit. The piano is used as an extension of this technique, underlining, answering or repeating his vocal lines. This produces the unnerving effect of a combined sense of conservative old-fashioned-ness and a bold tearing up of the sacrosanct songbook. There aren't too many parallels to point out. Maybe Mark Murphy, because of his shared sense of time-displacement and his instinctive coolness.

Bey threw an album release party at New York's Blue Note in December, 2007, and his set list still remained very similar. Could this be because he hasn't changed much in a decade, or is he merely attempting to reflect the album's contents? Even some of the between-song banter remained almost exactly the same. His braids are now longer, bunched behind a pirate scarf, Bey draped in a slick suit. His rhythm team has changed—Joe Martin on bass and Lesczak handling the sticks throughout. These two were in tune with Bey's sensitivity, as he scanned these familiar songs from his little notebook or launched off into an involved instrumental that revealed his similarly winding way on the piano keys. If anything, the personal live experience seemed even more conceptual, as Bey exuded the aura of an almost totally unpredictable, abstract artist, yet from within a traditional jazz milieu.

Track Listing: Intro; Ain't Necessarily So; Hey, Love; All The Things You Are; I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart; If I Should lose You; On Second Thought; Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?; Someone To Watch Over Me.

Personnel: Andy Bey: vocals, piano; Peter Washington: bass; Kenny Washington, Vito Lesczak: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: 12th Street Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Short Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Short Stories
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio" CD/LP/Track Review One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974" CD/LP/Track Review Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!