It was a picture perfect afternoon in Los Angeles, June 26, 2011 when New York Jazz vocalist, Nancy Kelly took us on an unforgettable journey at Jazz At The A Frame snuggled in the Hollywood Hills.
The meaning of the Blues; which is without a doubt the heartbeat of Jazz was portrayed in a most engaging fashion by Ms. Kelly and her mind-blowing rhythm section.
Eric Reed - Piano
Hamilton Price - Bass
Kevin Kanner - Drums
Just a few of the engaging arrangements that graced a spellbound crowd on a perfect summer day were
Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to" was performed in a sultry, swinging manner. Peggy Lee & Bill Schluger’s”I Love Being Here with You" coupled every audience member in Nancy's pocket.
A stunning version of “Harold Arlen's "Somewhere over the Rainbow" phrasing, rhythm, chord progressions, that were magical in the presentation and so connected. The final 16 bars of the tune was turned upside that included a total swing with touches of scat that had me personally on the edge of my chair.
"New York State of Mind" composed by Billy Joel was full of the essence of Jazz - The Blues and full of sensation. Bringing you in spirit to Lower Manhattan, Uptown, Brownstones, Harlem Jazz Clubs, Theatre District of Downtown, and Artists Alleys, Coffee Houses, and Subway stations in imagination as you listened to Nancy's soul-filled voicing.
There was an ever absorbing correlation with Nancy and Eric that was awesome. Mr. Reed utilized all 88 keys in a glorious passion on every tune. Kevin Kanner on Drums was brilliantly attentive. His with brushwork simply melted us.
I have one word to share on Hamilton Price....Gorgeous in all facets. I love the way he engulfs into the pulse of his format on the Upright Bass. It is warm and sensitive yet with no holds barred.
Nancy is incredible force to reckon with on any Jazz Standard, Balled, Straight-Ahead piece and every other style. She puts her own stamp on the piece while never forgetting the raw and beautifully bare effect of the Blues. It is actually akin to spiritual in sound and feel....taking you even further into the music's conception.
She performed Duke Pearson's "Jeannine" with a mesmerizing passionate pulse and feel. Every beat right in the pocket, grooving all over the room! Now, you're talking about a "Yeow!" moment...Right there at the A Frame. Eric was astonishing on Piano. Kevin kept the delight going with his impeccable groove on Drums. Hamilton locked it for us on Bass with a beauty and spirit that has no words to describe.
Nancy quoted from the incredibly inspiring Curtis Mayfield and his R & B hit, "Diamond in the Back" tune towards the end of "Jeannine" in a marvelous scat and grooving move all her own "Diamond in the back...diggin' in scene...Jeannine".
I could contain the soul-filled groove no longer. I was on my feet in applause. The audience as well gave approving nods and ovation on Nancy's innovative take that was all heart, all Nancy.
Ms. Kelly continued to serenade us with enduring tunes. Harry Warren's "At Last" which the incomparable Ms. Etta James" made unforgettable was treated in a most hauntingly beautiful and alluring way by Nancy. She keeps Jazz ablaze with a fire that is unadulterated and encouraging.
Another tune was performed that allowed the musicians to each do their own thing in a melody including Dixieland, Swing, Spirituals, and much more. The saints...were without a doubt "marching in" and the angels singing along with Nancy that afternoon.
The evening was one that will be etched in Jazz concert history in Los Angeles and hopefully spread across the U.S.
Jazz aficionados and aficionadas look for Nancy Kelly and her ensemble in your area and check out Eric Reed, Hamilton Price, and Kevin Kanner whenever they are performing in the area if you want an engaging journey in the untainted experience with Jazz.