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Andy BEY – Ain't Necessarily So 2007

Posted in Andy BEY, JAZZ on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Andy BEY – Ain’t Necessarily So 2007


Wow. I’m speechless. I haven’t been this speechless since…I reviewed the last Andy Bey c.d. in 2004, “American Song.”

2004 was an exceptionally strong year for vocal jazz; but I was and am of the strong opinion that “American Song” was the best of a group of outstanding c.d.’s for that year, and arguably the best of this decade. Among other things, it raised the question: “What can Andy Bey possibly do for an encore?”
What he did was to release in 2007 a live recording of the best of a 3-day gig from May of 1997 in Birdland, NYC. No overdubbing, no mixing of prerecorded tracks here; I can only assume that we are hearing what the very lucky concertgoers heard, with Andy Bey both playing piano and singing, Peter Washington on bass, and for the most part Kenny Washington on drum (with Vito Lesczak sitting in on the two uptunes, tracks four and eight).
And, I can only assume that Mr. Bey both sang and played while sitting down. And I am thoroughly blown away.
How in the world can anybody play a first class jazz piano and be a first class jazz singer at the same time? When I think of the best piano-voice duet album, Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, I think of two musicians with total concentration, feeding off each other’s inspiration. How can one person duplicate that? How can one person split his brain in two, and have the left side play off the right side and vice versa, as though he were two people?
It’s virtually impossible to do. And yet, Andy Bey comes as close as any human being could to pulling that feat off here.
Sure, his touch gets a little heavy, a little chordal while he sings. (Though listen to what he’s capable of doing on “If I Should Lose You,” when he doesn’t sing and therefore can concentrate on playing more lyrically and with greater flow.) And sure, he has to slip into a lot of falsetto at the top of his four octave range instead of going full voice, like he otherwise would, in order to keep the piano going.
But even so, he’s amazing. His falsetto well carries over the sound of the instruments. And he holds notes on “Hey, Love” and “On Second Thought” for seemingly ever–while sitting down, apparently. That is incredibly difficult to do. Many trained opera singers couldn’t pull this off; Andy Bey does it twice.
And listen to what he does on the whippy, scatting version of the normally dirgy “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” If someone else were accompanying, this would be first-class, breathtaking bending of lyric and melody. Yet, the accompaniment tracks the singing, filling the missing spaces just right. Just incredible.
Or listen to the bluesy, melody bending changes on “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart.” Again, this would be an incredible performance if he just sang it this way. How did he pull this off?
The best two years for vocal jazz this decade have been 2004 and 2007. They also are the years Andy Bey has released recordings. Coincidence? I think not.
By  Colin Paterson.
It took decades for Andy Bey to become an overnight success, but in the mid-’90s he was finally recognized as a premier talent, and recorded a handful of finely crafted discs. A true jazz singer avoiding monochromatic crooning, his style is deeply blue-hued, silky smooth but never slick. This live club date at Birdland in New York City was recorded in 1997, around the time of his overdue success, but not released until a full decade later. The pacing of the program is a little up-and-down, which is atypical of the normally mellow Bey. He does sing more than his share of balladic material, and when he does, there is no more patient virtue expressed in all of jazz, his slight

vibrato ruminating and tripping heartstrings. The title track and “Hey Love,” the 4:00 A.M. mood for “On Second Thought,” and the solo closer “Someone to Watch Over Me” dip into this dynamic, as drawn-out slow and steady as a daily sunset. To play this way may be the most difficult thing to do in music, but Bey is absolutely masterful. Like his parallel performing shadow Nat King Cole, Bey is also an excellent pianist, and a true player of the instrument. He uses modal repetition, off minor incursions, and unexpected twists, energetically scatting and singing on the well-worn “All the Things You Are,” and turns up the wick on “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” a tune usually reserved and bluesy, but in Bey’s case it’s turned upbeat and hopeful. A lone instrumental, “If I Should Lose You” displays Bey’s contained energy on piano with his excellent trio. There’s no wasted motion, which is true with his music in general, as he completely shuns self-indulgence. He’s never afraid to reach out and touch you with his honest, direct, sweet soul. A fine complement to his small discography of studio recordings, this overdue release is well
By Michael G. Nastos.
Andy Bey- (Vocals, Piano);
Peter Washington- (Bass);
Vito Lesczak, Kenny Washington- (Drums).
02.Ain’t Necessarily So
03.Hey, Love
04.All The Things You Are
05.I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
06.If I Should Lose You
07.On Second Thought
08.Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
09.Someone To Watch Over Me

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