Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Robin McKelle: Mess Around

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Since Robin McKelle’s intent was to move away from the big-band swing that defined her first two albums and closer to a classic R&B groove, it would seem a reasonable assumption that the title track is a cover of Ray Charles’ career-igniting 1953 hit. Actually, McKelle’s nod to Charles comes later in the album, with a hip-twitching, brass-and-organ-fueled “Lonely Avenue.” This “Mess Around,” one of four McKelle originals included among the 11 tracks, is a bluesy, midtempo swinger about alleged infidelity. The boisterous brass and thumping organ are either muted or altogether eliminated on the other McKelle compositions, an impressively wide-ranging trio with the achingly meditative, post-9/11 “Angel” offset by the sly, slinky “Until the Day I Die” and restoratively romantic “Since I Looked in Your Eyes.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published