Andy Bey: Shades of Bey

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Andy Bey: Shades of Bey On Shades of Bey, his latest Evidence release, Andy Bey's voice smolders and flashes, and burns with a quiet fire. Continuing the intimate atmosphere he so memorably established on the piano/vocal Ballads, Blues, and Bey, he sings two tracks here accompanied just by a guitar: "Like a Lover," which is a vocal adaptation of "O Cantador," and "Drume Negrita," which is "Afro-Cuban Lullaby." On the rest of the tracks he's accompanied by a varying but accomplished set of supporting characters who, throughout all the instrumental shifts, maintain a continuity of mood.

It's a 3 AM mood, quiet and blue and very, very close. Bey doesn't often work by variance of range (although on "The Last Light of the Evening" he makes effective use of his falsetto, in close proximity to phrases in his natural range - he alternates like a reed player). He usually prefers instead to create an intensely intimate atmosphere that glows with passion without slipping into Barry Whitean excess. He can also be exuberant, as on the delightful scatting of "Believin' It," a vocalization of "Half & Half." On that track, as well as on Monk's "Straight, No Chaser" (here "Get It Straight") Bey begins by neatly rapping over the head, and thus strikingly illustrating the continuity between two musical traditions that might at first glance seem worlds apart.

Bey can also play piano, comping sensitively and agilely behind his vocals on "Some Other Time," "Dark Shadows" as well as on the more driving "Midnight Blue," "Believin' It" and Billy Strayhorn's unforgettable "Blood Count" (here rendered as "The Last Light of the Evening." Geri Allen plays on Ellington's "The Starcrossed Lovers" ("Pretty Girl" here) and demonstrates the same keen ear and sensitive adjustment to other musicians that she seems to demonstrate every time out.

Among the instrumentalists, however, the most welcome is Gary Bartz, whose alto is magnificent on "Midnight Blue" and somewhat more restrained but no less precise and enormous on "Dark Shadows" and "The Last Light of the Evening." Bartz and Bey are both true unsung heroes: musicians who have paid their dues for years and never gotten their due. May this fine, intimately crafted disc bring them some of the attention they deserve.

Title: Shades Of Bey | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: CBS/Sony


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Unification" CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Get Up And Go" CD/LP/Track Review Get Up And Go
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.