Happy to Be Reviews

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All About Jazz by Dan Bilawsky

Over the past thirty years, vocalist Julie Kelly has established and cemented her sterling reputation via seven highly praised albums. Her eighth, a beauty in every way, is likely to garner her some more rave reviews.

After tackling a diverse program with able support from pianist Mike Wofford on Everything I Love (Chase Music Group, 2006), and grafting her own personality onto cool school vocalist June Christy's work with some help from pianist-arranger Tom Garvin on Kelly Sings Christy: Thou Swell (Chase Music Group, 2002), Kelly reunites with pianist Bill Cunliffe for this trip through lesser-known and highly agreeable material.

Cunliffe manned the piano and put the arrangements together for Kelly's Stories To Tell (Chase Music Group, 1994) and Into The Light (Chase Music Group, 2001), so both come to this project with a strong connection already firmly in place. Here, Cunliffe provides sensitive support when needed, kicks things up a few notches when the music calls for it, and effortlessly locks in with the two veteran rhythm men who were on board with him for the aforementioned albums—bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe LaBarbera. Together, these three establish relaxed and swinging scenarios ("Harpo's Blues"), light a fire under Kelly and the rest ("You're The Dangerous Type"), sway along with middleweight ("Corcovado") and lightweight ("I Never Went Away") bossa nova grooves, and bop along in high-spirited fashion ("High In The Sky"). Man-of-all-moods guitarist Anthony Wilson, vibraphonist Nick Mancini, and a collection of accomplished horn players also make notable contributions throughout.

While Kelly's companions help to set the scenes, it's the singer who's left to work within them. Yes, most of the aforementioned players get to step out and solo at one time or another, but all eyes remain on this sublime vocalist throughout. Her supple and well-trained pipes can match wits with horns, effortlessly traveling the curves and contours of this music, but she never fails to also pay great attention to the meaning of lyrics and the emotional direction of a song: "Our Love Rolls On" and "I Have The Feeling I've Been Here Before" make that much clear.

Out of eleven songs, "Corcovado" is the only one that's covered with extreme regularity, and even that comes out sparkling and new in Kelly's hands. Happy To Be has it all: fine instrumental solos, a Rolls-Royce rhythm section, sharp arrangements, choice material, and a stellar singer who makes great use of it all.

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Midwest Record by Chris Spector

A west coast warbler well respected by her peers has the sense to know the classic songbook has been beaten to death and sets her sights on other tunes with a few miles on them from writers that have been front and center but haven't had these beaten down. With an army of first call jazzbos bringing out the best in her, Kelly puts her forceful, full bodied voice front and center giving the jazz vocal fan an unexpected treat. Well done.

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Critical Jazz by Brent Black

Why is it all pretty girls think they can sing? More than just a pretty face, Julie Kelly is one of those rare triple threats in improvisational music. An acclaimed vocalist, lyricist and educator has Julie Kelly crawling inside a lyric but never getting in her own way. Nice! Happy to Be features some finely crafted original work and mercifully some more eclectic jewels from the Great America Songbook. Don't get me wrong, I love Cole Porter as well as the next critic but when you have reviewed the same five songs five hundred times then you really appreciate the song selection here. Song selection is everything!

Joining Julie we have Bill Cunliffe, Anthony Wilson, Joe LaBarbera and Bob Sheppard. The entire band functions with a synergy that is rare on recordings such as this. Old school with contemporary flair would be the best descriptions of tunes such as "High In The Sky" from Thad Jones and "Corcovado" from Antonio Carlos Jobim. Kelly is as technically proficient as she is artistically gifted and this shines through on some deep catalog tunes such as Phobe Snow's "Harpo's Blues."

Great tone, magnificent phrasing and the innate ability to sing with the band and not around them has Happy to Be one of the more entertaining vocal releases this year.

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Jersey Jazz by Joe Lang

There are many fine singers based in the Los Angeles area, and among the best is JULIE KELLY. Her seventh (corrected to 8th) album, Happy to Be (Jazzed Media - 1067) is a winner from start to finish. She has a wonderful supporting cast of first-call L.A. cats gathered around the superb rhythm section of pianist Bill Cunliffe, guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe LaBarbera. This is a woman who knows how to select fine, but not overdone songs, and sing them with hipness, feeling and smarts. Among the musical treasures are Dave Frishberg's "Our Love Rolls On," Bob Dorough's "You're the Dangerous Type" and Richard Rodney Bennett's "I Never Went Away." Another highlight is "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before" by Roger Kellaway and the Bergmans. When I heard a recording several years ago by Stacey Kent of "I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again" by Jim Tomlinson and Kazuo Ishiguro, I imagined that other singers would pick up on it. Well seven years have passed since Kent's recording. Kelly, with vocal assistance and an arrangement by John Proulx, has included it here, and has done this fine song proud. That is the case with each selection on Happy to Be.

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Girl Singers by Doug Boynton

A good album cover adds curb appeal to an artist’s work. A pleasant looking cover encourages one to pick up the product, and give it a first look. And if there’s a first look, that’s a good invitation to listen. Julie Kelly’s cover made me want to listen. Glad I did.

Laid back and quintessentially West Coast, this is a set of mostly lesser-known tunes from some pretty well-known tunesmiths, including some of my favorites – like Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough. And one that made me nervous as I pushed the disc into the machine. More on that in a minute.

This is an eighth album for Julie Kelly. It serves as my introduction to her work. It’s a lean-back music experience, akin to a Sunday cruise with the back to top down. The atmosphere is one of a bunch of pros having fun. The band isn’t backing her – she’s just one of them. But clearly – the one with her name on the cover. Gently swinging, voice polished to a fine sheen, working every emotion out of the lyrics, Ms. Kelly has that ability to make it sound like she’s not working hard at all. And frankly, I don’t think she is. I think it’s just that easy for her. But then, the best always make it look that way.

Julie Kelly - Photo by Mikel HealyThe song that worried me – sax guy Jim Tomlinson’s song he wrote for his wife, vocalist Stacey Kent, is “I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again,” with lyrics by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s one of my favorites. “Too new to be covered,” I fretted. No need. The arrangement by pianist/vocalist John Proulx also features him has a duet partner with Ms. Kelly, and that adds an element that takes it out of a straight comparison, and makes it one of my new favorites.

She’s also taken Jobim’s “Corcorvado” to a new level with a new arrangement (by Otmaro Ruiz), and a chance to show off her own residency in Brazil earlier in her career. “(Ruiz’s) arrangement illuminates the lyric brilliantly,” she writes. She’s also clearly having a lot of fun with Mr. Dorough’s witty “You’re The Dangerous Type,” and Mr. Frishberg’s “Our Love Rolls On.”

That backing band – Bill Cunliffe is on piano, Anthony Wilson on guitar, Tom Warrington on bass, Joe LaBarbera on drums – and a whole brass section on a couple of tracks, including Bob Sheppard, Clay Jenkins, Ron Stout and Bob McChesney.

And one of the finest sets of album art I’ve seen in a while. Photography by Mikel Healey; graphic design by Karin Elsener.

An outstanding work of art that’s as good as the cover promises. Very highly recommended.

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All About Jazz Jack Bowers

Julie Kelly is a talented singer whose talents are a fairly well-kept secret except on the West Coast, where she makes her home. Happy to Be is Kelly's eighth album, the first on Graham Carter's Colorado-based Jazzed Media label, and as has been her custom in the past, she chooses for the most part interesting songs that aren't heard nearly often enough. Compositions by Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Richard Rodney Bennett and even Phoebe Snow are here, hanging out alongside engaging themes by such lesser-known but no less able writers as Bill Peterson, Jim Tomlinson and Susan Marder. Kelly handles each one with care, paying close attention to mood, dynamics and articulation while interpreting lyrics in a straightforward manner that eschews needless embroidery.

Whether Kelly is a "jazz singer" is a matter of opinion. Even though she scats only briefly, and doesn't turn a lyric inside out like, say, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald or Carmen McRae, she clearly knows how to swing, as she shows on Peterson's "Happy to Be," Dorough's "You're the Dangerous Type" or Thad Jones' "High in the Sky," and is rhythmically sharp as well. Perhaps Kelly's strongest bond to jazz, however, lies in her supporting cast, which embodies an A-list of Southern California's busiest and most accomplished sidemen. The rhythm section (Bill Cunliffe, piano; Anthony Wilson, guitar; Tom Warrington, bass; Joe LaBarbera, drums; Walter Rodriguez, percussion) is beyond reproach, as is a front line comprised of trumpeters Clay Jenkins and Ron Stout, saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Kim Richmond, trombonist Bob McChesney and vibraphonist Nick Mancini.

Cunliffe, who plays synthesizer on several numbers, steps aside on Tomlinson's amiable "I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again" (lyric by Kazuo Ishiguro) in favor of John Proulx who duets with Kelly on his own arrangement of the tune. Proulx, whose style is reminiscent of the late Chet Baker, sings in a range so close to Kelly's that it's sometimes hard to tell who's who. That's not a problem elsewhere, as Kelly glides easily through a tantalizing melange of ingredients that begins with Snow's dreamy "Harpo's Blues" and continues through "Happy to Be" (written by Peterson and Inga Swearingin as a tribute to Bobby McFerrin), Frishberg's "Our Love Rolls On," Jobim's "Corcovado," Roger Kellaway's "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before" (lyric by Marilyn and Alan Bergman), "The Blues According to Orpheus" (which Kelly co-wrote with Rich Eames, Jeff D'Angelo and David Hocker), Bennett's "I Never Went Away" and Marder's "For Joni," in addition to the songs already noted. When she's not singing, there are brief but persuasive solos by Cunliffe, Wilson, Sheppard, Jenkins, Stout, McChesney and LaBarbera.

Splendid singer, commendable teammates, unerring choice of material. They add up to a well-earned endorsement for Julie Kelly and Happy to Be.

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Blog Critics by Jack Goldstein

A veteran jazz singer on the West Coast scene, Julie Kelly is set to release her eighth album Happy to Be, her first for Jazzed Media. Working with a back to top notch 11-piece ensemble, she runs through a menu of 11 tunes, most of which you won’t find on the typical songstress’ bill of fare. It’s not just original compositions, although there are a couple of those as well. She has chosen a program filled with solid songs that might not have been quite what you’d call standards, but in Kelly’julie kellys hands who knows what the future might bring.

Kelly has something of a special relationship with Brazilian music. Certainly the best-known piece on the album is the Jobim classic “Corcovado.” In an arrangement by Venezuelan pianist Otmaro Ruiz she begins in Portuguese before turning to English after a lyrical little guitar passage from Anthony Wilson for an inventive exploration of the tune. She also hits a Latin vibe with “I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again,” with some sweet solo work from Bob Sheppard on flute.

She changes pace with “High in the Sky,” a bop romp from Thad Jones with new lyrics by the Dutch vocalist Fleurine. The piece features one of those drum solos from Joe LaBarbera that used to have the rest of the band leaving the stage in the old days and some swinging work from the horns. It is altogether one of the album’s many highlights. Kelly supplies a cleverly literary lyric for “The Blues According to Orpheus,” a hip take on the myth, with some fine solo work on the synthesizer from the album’s producer Bill Cunliffe and guitarist Wilson. Kelly also collaborated with composer/lyricist Susan Marder on the lyric of “For Joni,” a beautiful poetic homage to Joni Mitchell which concludes the set.

Kelly gives a sensitive reading to Phoebe Snow’s “Harpo’s Blues,” the album’s plaintive opener. But she is equally effective with ballads like “I Have a Feeling I’ve Been Here Before,” “Our Love Rolls On,” and “I Never Went Away.”

Julie Kelley is no novice. This is a singer who knows her way around a lyric and puts that knowledge into her performance.

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AXS by Paula Edelstein

Julie Kelly is 'Happy To Be' among the West Coast’s best jazz singers

Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Julie Kelly is among the most respected jazz vocalists on the West Coast and attaining that distinction has been no easy feat. But her eighth offering as a leader and debut for the Jazzed Media recording label, Happy To Be (Jazzed Media, 1067) will assure her fans that she has definitely earned that distinction. The 11 songs on the album feature her revered sense of swing, compositional integrity and her ability to sing some of your favorite jazz songs with new arrangements and instrumentation.

For Happy To Be, Julie invited an array of Grammy award-winning jazz masters and young virtuoso alike to help her bring this stellar recording to completion. Her ensemble includes Bill Cunliffe, Anthony Wilson, Tom Warrington, Joe LaBarbera and a horn section comprised of such first call musicians as Bob Sheppard, Clay Jenkins, Ron Stout, Kim Richmond and Bob McChesney. Percussionist Walter Rodriguez and vibist Nick Mancini round out the 11-member band.

Julie’s program features such rarely performed standards as Thad Jones’ “High in the Sky,” Bob Dorough’s “You’re The Dangerous Type” and Phoebe Snow’s “Harpo’s Blues” with new arrangements. The recording also showcases her original lyrics and arrangements for “The Blues According to Orpheus,” and “For Joni.” There is a stellar solo by pianist/synthesizer player Bill Cunliffe who pulls out all the sback to tops before guitarist Anthony Wilson adds his fresh chord voicings to this memorable song. Julie’s vocals are excellent, her lyrics are witty and both combine seamlessly with the melodic arrangement she accomplished with Rich Eames. This is one of the best songs on the album. “For Joni” began as a poem for Joni Mitchell and features a great guitar solo by Anthony Wilson.

“I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again” opens with a beautiful flute solo by Bob Sheppard and sets the mood for the journey that singer/arranger John Proulx and Julie take the listener on. Sheppard’s second flute solo takes this song to another level and provides the perfect statement prior to the duo’s re-entrance.

Julies’ carioca cool makes sure we know that it’s 2014 and not 1960 as she sings “Corcovado” in English and Portuguese with a new arrangement by Otmaro Ruiz. This bossa nova still has the beauty and fresh, airy feeling that made it famous and kept it revered for so many years. Her beautiful interpretation captures the tenderness and epitomizes the quiet nights and quiet stars imagined by its composer – Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Overall Happy To Be is among Julie Kelly’s best offerings to date and is one that should be in your jazz vocals collection.

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Jazz Profiles by Steve Cera

I thought that Holly Cooper of Mouthpiece Music and I had two things in common: [1] we are from the same “‘hood," as she likes to refer to it [her offices are in beautiful downtown Burbank] and we are both fans of Jazz vocalist Julie Kelly [Holly’s media distribution firm is handling the announcements for Julie’s new CD, Happy To Be].

But with the arrival of Julie’s latest, I found out that Holly and I have another thing in common: [3] our respect and admiration for Graham Carter whose JazzedMedia label produced Julie’s latest recording [JM 1067].

Graham continues to do good things on behalf of Jazz and Jazz musicians and those of us who are fans of the music laud his ongoing efforts.

As for Julie, what a talented vocalist. There aren't many Jazz singers who could handle the repertoire on Happy To Be and Julie not only handles it she defines it, gives it character and substance and makes it her own.

I certainly don’t want to limit anyone’s appeal through labels, but the music on Happy To Be is simply Jazz singing at its very best.

Julie is “hip, slick and cool” with the matchless appeal of Carmen McRae, Jackie Paris, Blossom Dearie, Anita O’Day, Irene Kral, Ruth Price and host of other vocalists who make lyrics sung to Jazz feel like a conversation. I think the phrase that’s used today is when a Jazz soloist “tells a story.”

Julie engages, enraptures, encharms the listener. Making recordings is hard work, but you’d never know if from listening to Julie sing on this CD. She sounds like she’s having a ball, wants everyone to know it while inviting you, the listener, to the party.

This is smart sounding music; Jazz with a presence, a purpose and a punch. Julie puts over a lyric because she is a musician whose horn is her voice.

And speaking of “smart” and “presence,” Julie was smart enough to have the “presence-of-mind” to surrounds herself with some of the players on the L.A. studio scene [see below for a list of those musicians who made the dates].

More about Julie and the music on Happy To Be [JazzedMedia JM 1067] can be found in the following insert notes by vocalist Kate McGarry and Holly Cooper’s media release about this recording.

Incidentally, some of you may remember Kate’s stunning performance on Smoking My Sad Cigarette from Ryan Truesdell’s recording of Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans [ArtistShare 0114] which was reviewed on these pages.

It takes a class act to know another one and Julie and Kate are very much soulmates in that regard.

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The Jazz Page by Glenn Daniels

Julie Kelly has a voice and delivery that is timeless and thoroughly engaging. The West Coast singer, who can swing as nicely as she delivers a ballad, offers up a thoroughly enjoyable production with her latest effort Happy To Be… Kelly's vocals are like a warm embrace and this is a recording that compels listening from start to finish.

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F.A.M.E. by Mark S. Tucker

That jazz singer Julie Kelly decided to kick off her debut Jazzed Media CD (but eighth disc overall, her name's a rather prized item on the West Coast) with Phoebe Snow's Harpo's Blues immediately informed me I'd have no problems whatsoever with the outing. Then I glanced at the musician roster. Good grief, What a line-up!: Bill Cunliffe, Joe LaBarbera, Bob Sheppard, Bob McChesney and seven other A-Listers. The rendering is lovely, a tribute to the late Snow, herself a unique and highly respected figure in the heyday. Then the boppy Happy to Be followed, and I smiled as my prefiguring crit-radar proved to have been on the money. Next came a Frishberg tune (Our Love Rolls On) with Bob Dorough's You're the Dangerous Type as chaser. Oh yessss!

The stutter-step breakups in The Blues According to Orpheus are a kick, as are the time shifts flanking them, Kelly's vocals smoothly sailing beside it all until things jump into the air to let Cunliffe have a synth organ-patch solo leading into Anthony Wilson's (Dianna Krall's prized axehandler) Martino-esque lead runs. For Joni, a tribute to the famed Miss Mitchell, briefly gauzily quotes several of that composer's famous ditties while poetically referencing the famed songstress throughout. Written by Kelly with Susan Marder, it forms a perfect denouement to the CD, but before it moodily appears in the line-up, there's a lot of pep and vigor.

My favorite cut is the earlier mentioned Happy to Be 'cause I have a strong affinity for the Swingle Singers, and there's a good deal of their bouncy positivity and complicated riffs here, well-seasoned with a bit of a harder jazz edge and some great Cunliffe activity larking about on the keys until the sax takes over, Kelly afterwards re-entering in scat time to either Bill's synth or the sax processed through an outboard (my guess? it's the synth in a kind of Rippington's or Azymuth riff). Oh, and in case you find yourself digging this slab as much as I do, you might want to check Kelly's backlog, as among her offerings is a tribute to June Christy. Siiiiigh! Man o man, the misty Miss Christy, how she's still missed.

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Jazz History Online by Thomas Cunniffe

While Hilary Gardner is a relatively new presence on the New York scene, Julie Kelly has sung in Los Angeles for several years. However, Kelly is still not as well-known outside of California as her talent deserves. That situation may change with her newest release, "Happy to Be" (JazzedMedia 1067), an exquisite recital featuring music by a broad cross-section of composers. Opening with Phoebe Snow's charmingly naïve "Harpo's Blues" and segueing into the title track (Inga Swearingen's homage to Bobby McFerrin), Kelly evokes the spirits of the iconic figures with understated changes in vocal color and intensity. Throughout the album, Kelly uses Carmen McRae's concept of dragging the rhythm to emphasize important lyrics. That technique is especially effective on ballads like "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before", where where it reveals the inner meaning of the Marilyn and Alan Bergman lyric. I am especially happy that Kelly decided to include one of the wonderful collaborations between saxophonist Jim Tomlinson and novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. "I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again" is one of several songs originally written for Tomlinson's wife, Stacey Kent. Kelly's version is a vocal duet with John Proulx, and their interplay adds a new dimension to the story. Kelly is a superb lyricist in her own right, and her witty take on classic mythology "The Blues According to Orpheus" is one of the album's highlights. Kelly is accompanied by a back to top-flight group of LA musicians, including pianist Bill Cunliffe, guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Tom Warrington, drummer Joe LaBarbera, trumpeters Clay Jenkins and Ron Stout, trombonist Bob McChesney, saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Kim Richmond, and vibraphonist Nick Mancini.

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Music Man Blog by Robert Nicosia

My first listening introduction to Julie Kelly was by way of her new CD "Happy To Be". After listening to just the first few songs, it became clear why Julie is one of the most respected Jazz singers on the West Coast. If anyone ever asks you to define Jazz singing, save your time and theirs by simply telling them to listen to Julie Kelly and her CD "Happy To Be". Julie's pure warm voice has a sensibility to melody and lyric that's very rare. Her selection of songs on this CD reinforces her perfect taste in the best in melody and her wonderful lyric writing abilities. She wrote the lyrics for two songs on the CD, "The Blues According to Orpheus" and "For Joni". "For Joni" began as a poem she wrote for Joni Mitchell. Tierney Sutton the marvelous Jazz singer in her own right calls this tune nothing less than a "gorgeous anthem" to all who love Joni Mitchell.

One of the essential talents that all Jazz singers need to develop is the ability to pick the best musicians who will lift the singer to higher levels. The musicians Julie has selected to support her on this CD are spectacular! Bill Cunliffe has worked with Julie on other projects and is a widely respected pianist and Grammy Award-winning arranger, Anthony Wilson the outstanding guitarist who works with only the best musicians including Diana Krall, Tom Warrington known as one of the best Bass players in the country, world-class Drummer Joe LaBarbera who worked with Bill Evans for years and a Horn section comprised of A-list players including Bob Sheppard, Clay Jenkins, Ron Stout and Bob McChesney. Also, there is an additional contribution made by the following fine musicians: Walter Rodriguez, Percussion, Kim Richmand, Saxophone and on Vibes the "superb" Nick Mancini.

Julie Kelly has given the Jazz world a wonderful gift of great music that validates that Jazz singing still has a special place in today's music scene!

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Downbeat by Fred Bouchard


Sassy, candid Julie Kelly tells captivating stories that hold us in thrall: Her flexible, versatile voice convinces with a reedy twang and knowing edge. Carmen McRae knew how to pick 'em, as does Kelly: Her sure-fire repertoire embraces Phoebe Snow, Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough, R.R. Bergman, The Bergmans, and Jobim. Pianist Bill Cunliffe leads a find band that showcases Kelly's wry contralto with edgy charts and taut leadership.

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JazzWax by Marc Myers

Fresh, beautifully phrased relaxed vocals backed by a crackerjack ensemble thJazat includes pianist Bill Cunliffe and drummer Joe LaBarbera.

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Jazz History Online by Thomas Cunniffe

LA’s best studio studs turn out for this session lead by vocalist Julie Kelly, and it was time well spent. She’s got a husky and throaty tone, sort of like a Harmon muted trumpet, and she picks some clever material beyond the Great American Songbook-good call.

The all star rhythm team of Bill Cunliffe/key, Tom Warrington/b, the indefatigable Joe LaBarbera/dr and Walter Rodriguez/perc deliver supple support on material like Phoebe Snow’s lazy and relaxed “Harpo’s Blues” and the samba “For Joni” while Kelly handles the bop beat with perfection on “High in the Sky” and with Nick Mancini’s vibes on “You’re the Dangerous Type.” She gets cozy with Anthony Wilson’s guitar on Dave Frishberg’s “Our Love Rolls On” and glows with Cunliffe’s piano on “I Have the Feeling…”. The horn section of Clay Jenkins/tp, Ron Stout/fh, Bob McChesney/tb, Kim Richmond/as, and Bob Sheppard/ts-ss-fl delivers some excellent punch, with Sheppard’s flute floating on “ I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again.” Sophisticated, original, but even more important, enjoyable!

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Jazziz by Ross Boisseneau

As the title of Julie Kelly's new album implies, Happy to Be is a mostly upbeat collection of songs. Kelly's sunny yet textured vocals dominate, although she leaves plenty of room for A-list accompanists such as keyboardist and co-producer Bill Cunliffe, guitarist Anthony Wilson, saxophonist/flutist Bob Sheppard and drummer Joe LaBarbera. On the title track - featuring an Inga Swearingen lyric that pays homage to Bobby McFerrin - Kelly sings in time with the horns one moment, the rhythm section the next, her phrasing somewhat reminiscent of Michael Franks. She takes a similar tack on Bob Dorough's "You're the Dangerous Type," on which Cunliffe and Wilson offer swinging solos. Though mostly heard in the background, Nick Mancini's vibes add to the sparkling, sophisticated ambience.

Kelly interprets Dave Frishberg's "Our Love Rolls On" with the warmth it deserves, the mood echoed by Wilson's guitar. And, on the Jobim standard "Corcovado," the singer effortlessly delivers the lyric in Portuguese then in English. Here, as throughout, the pulse provided by LaBarbera and bassist Tom Warrington never wanes, and the rhythm section greatly bolsters the effort as a whole. However, on the ballad "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before," which lasts just longer than three minutes, the ensemble wraps it up before they're really engaged. On the final track, "For Joni," Kelly transforms a poem she'd originally written for Joni Mitchell into a softly swinging tune, enlivened by Walter Rodriguez's percussion, as well as contributions from Cunliffe and Wilson.

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