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March 1997

Andy Bey
Ballads, Blues and Bey
Evidence Music

Bey has been out of the spotlight since the breakup of the family group Andy and the Bey Sisters in 1967. In the last 20 years he has recorded most frequently with Horace Silver. But this album is something of a comeback or rediscovery, although the singer and pianist has been working and teaching steadily all the time.

It arrives as critics are decrying the scarcity of male jazz singers. Well, here's one to savor. His voice floats in and out of a whisper. He has a quick, sometimes quivering vibrato. He often employs the falsetto range, although he has a full baritone range, too. And he swings tantalizingly, laying back on the beat. With his spare, evocative piano as the only accompaniment, Bey's intimate recital of standards ("Someone to Watch Over Me," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Day Dream," "Embraceable You," et al.) is something special.

Originally published in March 1997
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