|JULIE KELLY INTO THE LIGHT|
by Willard Manus
In these grim times, what a joy it was to listen to JULIE KELLY INTO
THE LIGHT. Kelly's latest CD lifted my spirits in magical fashion and
if I had the werewithal I'd buy a copy for everyone in America. Kelly,
one of the best jazz singers working today, teams up with arranger/guitarist Bill Cunliffe to produce 14 of the most exuberant, life-enhancing tunes imaginable.
Kelly, a mezzo-soprano with near-perfect pitch and tone, infuses each
of her songs with all the warmth and feeling she can muster. Cunliffe
is there to back her up on almost every cut with his equally heartfelt
and lilting piano work. Whether harmonizing or soloing, this master
musician radiates beauty like the sun.
Kelly's other choices of musicians--guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Tom
Warrington and drummer Joe LaBarbera, among others-- were equally
inspired. Each one of them does fine work, work that's a feast for the
ears and soul.
Kelly, a Cal State Northridge grad who's been around for 25 years,
kicks off with a deliciously impish interpretation of "Love For Sale."
She then works her way through such classics as "Folks On the Hill,"
"World On a String" and "Hooray For Love," paying them homage even as
she puts her own spin on them. For changes of pace she does versions of
"Flor De Liz," a Brazilian tune about mixed-up love which she sings in
English and Portuguese, a language in which she is conversant; and
"Sonny's Bouce," a Sonny Stitt bop number to which she has written her
own swinging lyrics.
Other outstanding numbers are "Don't Be That Way," on which she and
Cunliffe do an Ella Fitzgerald/Joe Pass tribute which is every bit as
good, if not better, than the original; and "Heart's Desire," which has
lyrics by Dave Frishberg, music by Allen Broadbent.
It really doesn't matter which cut you sample; everything on this Chase
Music Group CD is infused with life. Call (800) 724-2730 or visit