With her third release for Chase Music Group, the California based Julie Kelly has spawned a gem. This performance is a carefully crafted and joyful celebration of the music of June Christy. June Christy (1925-1990) began her career with Stan Kenton’s band during the mid 1940s. Her relationship with Kenton sax star, Bob Cooper resulted in a marriage that lasted until her death in 1990. The Misty Miss Christy enjoyed superstar status among jazz lovers. June was “the coolest.”
While Christy considered herself lucky to have worked with arrangers who understood her way with a song, Julie Kelly turned to Tom Garvin. The two consulted with Bob Cooper, Pete Rugolo, Lou Levy, Bill Perkins and others who worked with Christy over the years. They put together a great bunch of California’s best musicians and went into the studio last autumn. The CD was released September 7th and is already being considered for Grammy nomination in the arranging category.
The CD has many highpoints and the first is Lazy Afternoon where Julie’s sensuous voice blends beautifully with Tom Peterson’s saxophone artistry. You may recall Tom’s work with Wynton Marsalis. Another is a fine rendition of Lionel Hampton’s “Midnight Sun” and Julie shares the spotlight with Stacy Rowles. Rowles is very well regarded on the west coast as one of the finest flugelhorn studio musicians. Don’t ask; Stacy is the daughter of the late Jimmy Rowles. The entire CD is a shining example of a singer truly at home with her musicians.
The music of Kurt Weill usually leaves me cold. Julie Kelly turns Weill’s “Lonely House” into a song you hope will never end. Talk about selling a song; this one is breathtaking. Every Christy fan will ask if Something Cool is included. Of course it is! Kelly does an outstanding job with the classic and will probably agree with me that June really OWNED the tune and that’s the way it will remain.
This is a great album and I highly recommend it, even if you have the originals on your shelf. The West Coast continues to bring wonderful sounds to the jazz scene.
Track Listing: There's No You, Something Cool, It Might As Well Be Spring, Thou Swell, Lazy Afternoon, Gone For The Day, It's So Peaceful In The Country, It's A Most Unusual Day, Midnight Sun, The Best Thing For You, Lonely House.
Personnel: Julie Kelly, vocals, Tom Garvin, Piano and arrangements, Dave Carpenter, Bass, Steve Houghton, Drums, Stacy Rowles, Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Bill Perkins, Pete Christlieb, Tom Peterson, Rob Lockhart, Saxes, and Brad Dutz, Percussion.
Year Released: 2002
| Record Label: CMG
| Style: Vocal
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.