Once a waitress at one of the altars of jazz, New York City's Village Vanguard, Marty Elkins has tossed the apron away and stepped onto the performing stage. Some may complain that this maiden album isn't very adventurous because, with a couple of exceptions, it sticks with oft heard standards. There should be such complaint. One measure of the worth of a vocalist is how she/he works with classic material as they try to put their special brand on it. I can't imagine living with just a handful of interpretations of "Stars Fell on Alabama", "When Your Lover Has Gone" and "You're Blasé". And Elkins does add her character to this music. Listen to "When Your Lover Has Gone" done with a light Latin beat as she sings over the "Sweets" Edison-like noodling trumpet of Herb Pomeroy and the clean stringed guitar of Greg Skaff. The muted trumpet of former Berklee School of Music faculty member Herb Pomeroy is conspicuous on "We'll Be Together Again". Houston Person is listed as a player, but his soulful tenor sax appears on very few cuts. One of his most notable contributions is on Elkins' own "Fuse Blues" where he trades choruses with Pomeroy as Elkins pays tribute to her electrician who "keeps her motor hummin'".
Elkins has a deep voice, with a dusky sensuous patina to it. A fine sense for the lyrics is reflected in her phasing and diction. She's fortunate to have top level players to help make her first album the success it is. In addition to those already mentioned, New York-based pianist Tardo Hammer creates a conducive setting for the Elkins' song styling. The rhythm section of Dennis Irwin and Mark Taylor is first class. Another welcome addition to the growing sorority of good distaff jazz vocalists, Elkins'Fuse Bluesis recommended.
Track Listing: Day In, Day Out; Stars Fell on Alabama; Medley: Moonray/No Moon at All; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; As Long as I Live; When Your Lover Has Gone; We'll Be Together Again; Fuse Blues; There's No you; Born to Be Blue; Soon; Never, Never Land; You're Blas
Personnel: Marty Elkins - Vocals; Herb Pomeroy - Trumpet; Houston Person - Tenor Saxophone; Tardo Hammer - Piano; Greg Skaff - Guitar; Dennis Irwin - Bass; Mark Taylor - Drums
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.