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Kelley Johnson - Home

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Kelley Johnson

Sapphire 7613

Available from Kelley Johnson's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Now this is the way standards should be done. Kelley Johnson has a sweet, dulcet, sunkissed voice that's unafraid to tackle beautifully arranged skewed side avenues, aided by a backing band as sharp as a cut deck matching her jazzy reflections and abstractions. John Hansen is the most constant instrumental voice, playing a piano as supple as a young doe gamboling in the woods though Jay Thomas' horns maintain very nice standouts as well.

Home is a superb introduction, a reading both spare and pointillistic while warm and melodically connected. The arrangement is Johnson's, and it's stunningly informed. Likewise, her approach to Wouldn't It Be Loverly, an edgewise sidle, even a touch Pink Pantherish, while one of Mancini's other famed tunes, Moon River, is straight on and entrancing, one of those songs you just can't take too far, must honor correctly. The arrangement (Hansen & Wikan this time) walks beyond the traditional Andy Williams hedgerow border but still preserves every salient in the cut.

Home is a marvelous dozen cuts absolutely drenched in classic lounge / nightclub / stage milieus where what's presented is pristine, hypnotizing, and satiny smooth amid loving tribute and improv from a vocalist in full confidence of a delivery that should be the envy of Hollywood notables. That she's extremely studied is more than obvious, and innumerable nuances overflow in a cornucopia of delightful and engaging renditions of classics flanking several originals. The only mystery is that she hasn't already been signed to a major jazz label.

Track List:

  • Should've Been (Abbey Lincoln)
  • Be Careful, It's my Heart (Irving Berlin)
  • Home (Knapp / Johnson)
  • The Sweetest Sounds (Richard Rogers)
  • Wouldn't It be Loverly / Living Room (Lerner & Lowe / Lincoln)
  • A Lovely Night (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
  • Moon River (Henry Mancini)
  • (Looking at the World Through) Rose Colored Glasses (Steiger & Malie)
  • From Here / Where do You Start (Johnson / Mandel & Bergmans)
  • For an Hour (Jensen & Wikan / Johnson)
  • Love Walked IN (George & Ira Gershwin)
  • Even You and I (Lins / Martins / Walsh)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 

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