Thursday, January 26, 2012

Andy Bey Knows It "Ain’t Necessarily So"

On the new disc, Ain’t Necessarily So (12th Street Recordings), veteran pianist and vocalist Andy Bey is heard on a live 1997 recording from New York City’s Birdland. It was recorded a few months after his acclaimed studio date, Ballads, Blues & Bey, and had him backed by Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, except for Vito Lecszak on drums for two tracks.

Possessing a broad vocal range,going from a deep bass to a bluesy falsetto, Bey phrases his vocals in a horn-like fashion, extended phrases punctuated by some vocalese, and thoughtfully emphasizing some of the lyrics. As he shows on a brief solo during On Second Thought, Bey certainly is not lacking in piano technique, his playing is marked by its spare and understated approach, evoking the melody through the use of chords and to help underscore his interpretations of such songs the Gershwin classic opening this set; the Kern-Hammerstein staple, All the Things You Are, Someone to Watch Over Me; and the Ellington ballad, I Let A Song Out of My Heart.

Even on the instrumental, If I Should Lose You, he makes use as much of the silences as the notes he plays, while throughout, Kenny and Peter Washington unobtrusively fill out the performances that were so enthusiastically received the evening this was recorded.

This review originally appeared in the March 2008 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 302) and I received my review copy from that publication or a publicist for the recording. Here is a video of Andy Bey performing.

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