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Another member of the large and talented clutch of San Francisco vocalists, Frankye Kelly has released her first album for the Sonoma Jazz Label. A live performance that reveals a debt to Sarah Vaughan that comes through on all the cuts, especially on one of Vaughan's more notable recordings, "Tenderly". Kelly avoids those exaggerated swoops, swirls and jumps between octaves that characterized Vaughan's singing which bordered on an affectation in the Divine One's later years. Kelly has her own style of phrasing and emphasis which comes through on such cuts as "I'm Glad There Is You". There are some eloquent vibes and piano by Yancie Taylor and Dee Spencer, respectively, on this track. A tour de force is Kelly's work on "No Moon at All" where she mixes monotone with her unique way of moving between octaves. Very effective presentation.
Kelly is accompanied by very fine musicians who not only give strong support, but enhance the performance with expressive and knowledgeable solos. Not the least of these is the tough tenor playing a la Illinois Jacquet by Steve Heckman on "Our Day Will Come". Heckman picks up his soprano to provide the trappings for Kelly's sumptuous rendition of "Speak Low". In addition to her work on ballads, Kelly can do the blues with the best of them as she shows on Albert Collins' "If Trouble Was Money" with Heckman's honking, screeching tenor and Zim Bob Braye doing the R & B clump, clump on drums.
Judging from the response of the audience, everyone went away happy. Recommended. Visit Frankye at www.frankyekelly.com.
Track Listing: Our Day Will Come; Mood Indigo; The Night is Young; Tenderly; Lullaby of Birdland; I'm Glad There is You; No Moon At All; Speak Low; Love For Sale; If Trouble Was Money
Personnel: Frankye Kelly - Vocal; Steve Heckman - Soprano and Tenor sax; Dee Spencer - Piano; Mark "Hashima" Williams - Bass-; Zim Bob Braye - Drums; Yancie Taylor -Vibraphone
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.