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May 2004

Andy Bey
American Song
Savoy

I'm guessing that for every thousand or so discs Harry Connick sells, Andy Bey peddles maybe a dozen, which, no slight intended against Harry, is a crying shame. The sexagenarian Bey ranks right alongside Mark Murphy as one of the two or three greatest male standard-bearers on the planet. Like Murphy (and bourbon and British sports cars), Bey simply gets better with age.

Throughout American Song (Savoy), as he gently meanders through such masterpieces as "Angel Eyes," "Lush Life," "Midnight Sun," "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Lonely Town," a sense of mystical reverence emerges. (The image that leaps to mind is of Nat Cole's otherworldly "Nature Boy" channeled through Billy Eckstine). Immerse yourself in the burning yearning of his "Speak Low," the mellow worldliness of his "Satin Doll" or the winsome lilt of his "It's Only a Paper Moon" and you'll appreciate precisely what a half-century of uncompromising genius can reap.

Originally published in May 2004
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