Justine Keeys is a Philadelphia-based jazz singer whose second recording, a septet outing, features highly regarded Philly saxman Larry McKenna. The album is so titled due to the singer's wish to mix the instrumentation throughout, presenting voice with piano and bass, or adding drums, or adding sax and/or trumpet.
She presents thirteen well-chosen songs (albeit not in the order listed on the jacket) that consist of some well-selected standards as well as some obscure and interesting alternatives. The lyrics to Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn," which I think that I heard once, back in the era of automobile tail fins, are one good example. Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Mr. Kicks," the title of his 1960-ish Chicago revue, is given an animated performance. Two songs associated with Johnny Hartman, "I Just Dropped By To Say Hello" and Duke Ellington's "Don't You Know I Care," offer a polished memory. The standard "Star Eyes," immortalized by Charlie Parker, is here presented with the infrequently heard lyrics and some attractive guitar fills from Gerald (Twig) Smith.
Miss Justine has a serviceable voice and certainly does justice to these venerable melodies. She keeps it lively and the set is filled with brief solos, most notably from McKenna and trumpeter Bill Lacy.
Track Listing: Maybe, Where Do You Start, Don't You Know I Care, Goodbye, Moondance, No More, Mr.Kicks, Here's To Life, Peter Gunn, I Just Dropped By To Say Hello, Love Look Away, Star Eyes, I'll Be Seeing You.
Personnel: Miss Justine, vocals; Tom Lawton,piano; Matt Parrish, bass; Leon Jordan, drums; William (Bill)Lacy, trumpet; Larry McKenna, sax; Gerald (Twig) Smith,guitar.
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.