Andy Bey - Ain't Necessarily So
Vocal jazz is a field that has historically been dominated by women. There just doesn't seem to be many male jazz singers, and even fewer good ones. That's not a complaint, just an observation. I have more jazz than any other genre of music in my library, and vocal jazz is very well represented. It's one of my favorite subgenres of jazz along with swing and hard bop. I can't say that Kurt Elling works for me as a jazz singer. I know he has a very large following, and that my low regard for his art runs contrary to the prevailing sentiments among jazz lovers. But his voice, his improvisational style, and arrangements just do not appeal to me. I'm even less impressed with Michael Bublé . Harry Connick Jr. has done a few swing albums, but he lacks the proper feel for rhythm and timing and his voice, his vocal style, just isn't suited for swing.
Mark Murphy, on the other hand, is a giant of vocal jazz in my view and has towered over his contemporaries for the last 35 years or so. But beyond Murphy there isn't much out there in the way of contemporary male jazz vocalists. Enter Andy Bey, who often seems to get lost in the sauce, which is hard to imagine since there are so few male jazz singers to begin with. Bey got his start in the mid 1960s on the Prestige label and is still recording music. Which makes one wonder how he only managed to release 9 albums over the course of a 43 year recording career. To say he is not particularly well known is an understatement. With so few studio recordings Bey's reach into the hearts of jazz lovers was confined to his live performances. Ain't Necessarily So
, a 2007 release on the 12th Street Label, was recorded live at Birdland. The set features a wonderful mix of tunes, with some downright fascinating interpretations of standards by the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein. You will find a delightful blend of ballads, swing, and post-bop that are driven by Bey's extraordinary gifts for vocal improvisation. He is also a very accomplished jazz pianist. This CD should have a place in every jazz lover's library.