Lisa Kelly

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Lisa Kelly is one of the legion of very good female singers turning out good recorded performances despite the difficulties of just getting on wax, much less managing to get decent album distribution and play time. We should be thankful that a talent like Kelly has the persistence and determination to overcome the travails which are a part of the process of getting music before the public. Kelly has a feel for the songs on this album which run the gamut from the sublime Duke Ellington to the classic Ray Noble, the bop of Horace Silver to the modern Chick Corea and the funky Van Morrison. She handles these diverse styles with ease and seemliness. Kelly clearly appreciates that her voice is an instrument as much so as a horn or a piano. This understanding comes to life on such cuts as "Take the 'A' Train," "The Very Thought of You" and "Corvocado." On "'A' Train," she goes back and forth with Rick Kirkland's drums. "The Very Thought of You" shows her scatting skills in unison with Bruce Silva's open trumpet; Silva's unusually lengthy intro to this tune is unabashedly lyrical. But more than any of the cuts, Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corvocado (Quiet Days of Quiet Nights)" establishes the musical philosophy of the album. Backed by the delicate Bill Prince flute and Jonathan Bishop conga, this tune is delivered in a quiet and reflective fashion which characterizes most of the album's performances. To illustrate, "Caravan," which more often than not is performed at a frantic pace, is delivered slower than usual. This is not to say that this music is for background listening. Rather, this is a thinking person's album where the performances allow the discerning listener to savor each cut in full. Kelly's scatting is tasteful and is integral to her calm, pleasing approach to the music. The supporting cast of musicians is excellent. Presumably Florida-based musicians, they are completely in synch with Kelly's musical objectives. They also get more than the usual amount of solo time. This is as much an instrumental session as it is a vocal one.