My Life More Than It Is Not Just The Blues


aec.cdb5637302011.2 12/16/03 New
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Review Text For her second album for the Music in the Vines/Sonoma Jazz label, Frankye Kelly continues her exploration of the jazz, blues, and related vocal literature. Showing great flexibility in the way she delivers a song, she shows her debt to Sarah Vaughan on a lovely original, "When Midnight Falls," and then takes up wordless vocalizing with a vengeance on another of her compositions, "The Blues Will Make You Alright." This tune shows up a couple more times on the play list as a short instrumental reprise and then as an instrumental as the album's coda. The twangy Delta blues-like guitar of John Carruthers is up front on all the versions. Much like Gloria Lynne, there's at least a touch of the blues present no matter what Kelly sings, the dosage depending on the tune. Even when she goes Latin on "And I Love Him," it's obvious that you can't take the soul out of singers who lean toward the blues. Listeners are treated to contemporary R&B with a sassy, high-tension "Who's In, Who's Out." Despite the best efforts to fill this CD with different musical styles, it never quite makes it and it isn't the fault of the singer. The problem is the musical arrangements. There's the same monotonous drum backbeat and electronically driven sounds from the keyboards on virtually every track. So no matter what Kelly is doing with the lyrics, the instrumentalists are rarely accommodating. One exception is a swinging "Sugar," where Kelly is helped along with a honking tenor player whose identity, unfortunately, is a mystery. There's a conspicuous absence of electronics on this cut, except for the guitar. Kelly is a fine singer who can express a wide range of emotions. Next time out, hopefully she'll have more accommodating sidemen. ~ Dave Nathan

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