Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bev Kelly "Live at the Jazz Safari." Another new SSJ Records (Japan)

On this this previously un-issued seventies date by singer Bev Kelly, she is backed by the wonderful likes of Al Williams, Dwight Dickerson, Leroy Vinnegar and others. It's been a -- what else can I say? --total blast, in the capacity of "release producer," working with Bev on the forthcoming issue of this terrific session.

Perched atop a rapidly escalating career in the early 1960s, nonetheless Kelly could espie the wave of rock and roll fast approaching to eventually wash away almost everything non-big beat in its path. Thus, she had the good sense to get a "day job." Make that "Dr. Bev Kelly, PHD," for she attended university, received her degree and has been practicing as a psychologist ever since. But she has continued to sing, notably on her 2002 CD Portrait of Nine Dreams. And, as she explains in the liner notes for her "new" CD:

"I started working with [drummer] Al Williams and his quintet in 1976. We often had conversations about how we would love to have jazz clubs of our own. In late 1977, an opportunity was presented to Al to fulfill his longtime dream, and the Jazz Safari was conceived."

Bev made a financial investment in the operation, began working there when it opened, and in the Spring of '79 cut an album at the Safari. Some of the tracks are: "Lonesome Road," "New York State of Mind," "Drinking Again," "Bein' Green," and "Alice in Wonderland." Until now, however, the results of those two nights of recording have gone unreleased. Now, nearly three decades later, this fine recording is finally seeing the light of day on SSJ Records (to be released July 2007).

Tomorrow: Dick Haymes: Look at Me Now!

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