All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Julie Kelly: Happy To Be

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Over the past thirty years, vocalist Julie Kelly has established and cemented her sterling reputation via seven highly praised albums. Her eighth, a beauty in every way, is likely to garner her some more rave reviews.

After tackling a diverse program with able support from pianist Mike Wofford on Everything I Love (Chase Music Group, 2006), and grafting her own personality onto cool school vocalist June Christy's work with some help from pianist-arranger Tom Garvin on Kelly Sings Christy: Thou Swell (Chase Music Group, 2002), Kelly reunites with pianist Bill Cunliffe for this trip through lesser-known and highly agreeable material.

Cunliffe manned the piano and put the arrangements together for Kelly's Stories To Tell (Chase Music Group, 1994) and Into The Light (Chase Music Group, 2001), so both come to this project with a strong connection already firmly in place. Here, Cunliffe provides sensitive support when needed, kicks things up a few notches when the music calls for it, and effortlessly locks in with the two veteran rhythm men who were on board with him for the aforementioned albums—bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe La Barbera. Together, these three establish relaxed and swinging scenarios ("Harpo's Blues"), light a fire under Kelly and the rest ("You're The Dangerous Type"), sway along with middleweight ("Corcovado") and lightweight ("I Never Went Away") bossa nova grooves, and bop along in high-spirited fashion ("High In The Sky"). Man-of-all-moods guitarist Anthony Wilson, vibraphonist Nick Mancini, and a collection of accomplished horn players also make notable contributions throughout.

While Kelly's companions help to set the scenes, it's the singer who's left to work within them. Yes, most of the aforementioned players get to step out and solo at one time or another, but all eyes remain on this sublime vocalist throughout. Her supple and well-trained pipes can match wits with horns, effortlessly traveling the curves and contours of this music, but she never fails to also pay great attention to the meaning of lyrics and the emotional direction of a song: "Our Love Rolls On" and "I Have The Feeling I've Been Here Before" make that much clear.

Out of eleven songs, "Corcovado" is the only one that's covered with extreme regularity, and even that comes out sparkling and new in Kelly's hands. Happy To Be has it all: fine instrumental solos, a Rolls-Royce rhythm section, sharp arrangements, choice material, and a stellar singer who makes great use of it all.

Track Listing: Harpo's Blues; Happy To Be; Our Love Rolls On; You're The Dangerous Type; Corcovado; I Have The Feeling I've Been Here Before; The Blues According To Orpheus; I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again; I Never Went Away; High In The Sky; For Joni.

Personnel: Julie Kelly: vocals; Bill Cunliffe: piano, synthesizer; Anthony Wilson: guitar; Tom Warrington: bass; Joe LaBarbera: drums; Walter Rodriguez: percussion; Bob Sheppard: saxophone, flute; Clay Jenkins: trumpet; Ron Stout: flugelhorn; Bob McChesney: trombone; Kim Richmond: saxophone; Nick Mancini: vibraphone.

Title: Happy To Be | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Jazzed Media

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Happy To Be

Happy To Be

Jazzed Media
2014

buy
Everything I Love

Everything I Love

Chase Music Group
2006

buy
Into the Light

Into the Light

Chase Music Group
2001

buy
Stories to Tell

Stories to Tell

Chase Music Group
1994

buy
Some Other Time

Some Other Time

Chase Music Group
1993

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Donora Autumn" CD/LP/Track Review Donora Autumn
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Use Your Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Use Your Imagination
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "Forest Grove" CD/LP/Track Review Forest Grove
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "Meet Me At Minton's" CD/LP/Track Review Meet Me At Minton's
by James Nadal
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "No Answer" CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017