Beverly Kenney (vcl), Joe Newman (tp), Frank Wess (ts, fl), Urbie Green (tb), Julius Watkins (Frh), Bob Pancoast, Gildo Mahones, Tony Tamburello (p), Jimmy Jones (p, arr), Johnny Smith, Freddie Green, Billy Bauer (g), Knobby Totah, Eddie Jones, Milt Hinton, Tommy Potter (b), Mousie Alexander, Jo Jones, Don Lamond, Ron Jefferson (d), Ralph Burns (arr, dir)
Reference: FSRCD 720
Bar code: 8427328607209
This definitive double-CD edition includes the complete ROYAL ROOST albums:
- BEVERLY KENNEY SINGS FOR JOHNNY SMITH
- COME SWING WITH ME
- BEVERLY KENNEY SINGS WITH JIMMY JONES AND THE BASIE-ITES
And more from his very early recordings and radio broadcasts
The appearance of Beverly Kenney as a guest vocalist at the 1955 Jazz for Israel concert at Carnegie Hall was the beginning of her successful but tragically short career she took her own life at 28. Her arrival was, for most pop buyers and jazz fans, a major event. Considered one of the most intriguing new voices to come since Julie Londons auspicious record debut, she exuded warmth and a sense of humor, taste and tenderness, while her innate jazz pulse won her glowing tributes from jazz critics.
With her lightly husky, attractive voiceand her styleshe gave an impeccably contemporary reading to the standards on her three Royal Roost albums, accompanied by Johnny Smiths group, Ralph Burns orchestra and by the fine support of Jimmy Jones and the Basie-ites.
This set is completed by several intriguing bonus tracks she recorded early in her career, including a demo session with pianist and vocal coach Tony Tamburello recorded just before her major breakthrough, and tracks from a broadcast she did with the trio of Gildo Mahones. In an arresting demonstration of her quality, the set displays not only all her skills as a singer, but also her outstanding musicianship and care for lyrics.
"Attention fans of vocal jazz! This review is for YOU! What Jackie Paris is to male singers, Beverly Kinney is to females. She had an incredibly individual voice all her own, recorded some incredibly moving music, never quite got to the top tier, and, suddenly, just like that (in her case because of suicide) had a career that was abruptly cut off from the music scene. Dont let this tragic life go away without meaning. This pair of 2-CD sets (FSRCD 720 & FSRCD 721) covers everything youll want, and make you scrounge around for anything else that might be out there.
The Royal Roost sessions find her at her most hip and swinging. Theres a 55 session that has her fronting a very hip quartet that features Johnny Smith on guitar, a 56 session with Ralph Burns Orchestra (with Milt Hinton on bass), a 57 outing with pianist Jimmy Jones leading members of the Atomic Basie band (like Frank Wess, Freddie Green, Eddie Jones and Jo Jones-interested yet?!?) and a collection of radio shows and things left on the recording studio floor.
Her voice has the clarity of Ella, the swing of Holiday and the playfulness of Dearie, yet its all her own. She takes a piece like Destination Moon and twirls it like a Foster Freeze, while on You Go To My Head she sounds positively ruminative. The session with Basies band finds her in her most comfortable element, floating over Old Buttermilk Sky or Isnt This a Lovely Day? with a confidence that few inherently have. She had it!
The fact that she was unappreciated during her terribly short life is a crime, and an added footnote to the line in Ecclesiastes that under the sun, all is vanity. Try to get some meaning out of it all by enjoying what she brought to us still on this side of eternity."
George W. Harris (October 18, 2012)
"One of the most promising jazz singers to emerge in the 1950s, Beverly Kenney committed suicide in 1960 after a love affair broke up; she was just 28. In her short career, she received praise from critics but was probably fighting a losing battle against rock and roll. If she had been born ten years earlier, her renditions of superior standards may very well have made her famous. Decades after her death, she became a bit of a cult figure in Japan where all of her recordings and some previously unreleased material (including a demo session from 1954) became popular [...]
Equally skilled on swinging material and ballads, Kenney always did justice to the words that she interpreted while consistently uplifting each song. The Complete Royal Roost Recordings, which dates from 1954-57, reissues her albums Sings For Johnny Smith (with a quartet that includes guitarist Johnny Smith), Come Swing With Me (assisted by Ralph Burns arrangements for a 14-piece band) and Sings With Jimmy Jones and the Basie-ites (interacting with a sextet of Count Basie-associated musicians including trumpeter Joe Newman and Frank Wess on tenor and flute). The many bonus tracks include her demo session with pianist Tony Tamburello and four songs from an appearance on a radio show."
Scott Yanow -L.A. Jazz Scene (February, 2013)