Andy Bey was 56 when he recorded Ballads, Blues & Bey in 1995, and despite the fact that his voice had more rough edges than it did in the '60s and '70s, he still had an impressive range and was among jazz's most expressive male singers. For this project, the Newark, NJ native didn't employ a band -- his only accompaniment is his own acoustic piano, and this spare, intimate approach really makes Bey's heartfelt vocals stand out on such chestnuts as "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Embraceable You," and "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." This time, the Duke Ellington songbook is a high priority for Bey, who demonstrates how marvelous an interpreter of lyrics he is on "In a Sentimental Mood," "Day Dream," and other Ellington gems. Unfortunately, Bey still wasn't nearly as well known in jazz circles as he deserved to be, and he continued to be one of the great unsung heroes of jazz singing.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson