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Andy Bey : Ain’t Necessarily So

Andy Bey

At last, a successor to Andy Bey’s sublime Tuesdays in Chinatown and even finer American Song. Well, sort of. This choppily edited but otherwise brilliant 67-minute session dates from a full decade ago, recorded live in New York at Birdland, right around the time the singer/pianist was riding his first wave of “comeback” success after the release of Ballads, Blues & Bey. For this date, Bey’s trio-mates are the two Washingtons, bassist Peter and drummer Kenny, who have since become pillars of the Bill Charlap Trio. Typical of a Bey outing, he lends his silken baritone-then, as now, one of the richest, most magnificent instruments in jazz-equally to exquisite readings of classics (“All the Things You Are,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” the title track) and obscure delights deserving of wider recognition (Mary Rodgers and Martin Charnin’s petal-soft “Hey, Love,” Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh’s wistful reflection on a hasty break up, “On Second Thought”). But the pièce de résistance is the set’s penultimate selection, an eight-and-a-half-minute journey through “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” that’s so nakedly raw, so achingly proud, it would make Tom Joad weep in recognition.

Originally Published