Beverly Kenney: Snuggled on Your Shoulder

Jazz history is full of personal tragedy and heroic music. At age 28, Beverly Kenney committed suicide in 1960 from a combination of alcohol and sleeping pills, due to a broken love affair. During the previous six years, the promising singer had recorded six albums plus a recently unearthed early demo tape, displaying the influence of Billie Holiday and Mel Tormé while sounding original whether on swinging standards or ballads. Cellar Door has released her very listenable demo Snuggled On Your Shoulder while Universal has reissued her three Decca and three Roost recordings. While Come Swing with Me, Born to Be Blue and Like Yesterday all have their moments, the ones to get first are Sings for Johnny Smith (highlighted by “Destination Moon”), Sings With Jimmy Jones and the Basie-ites and Kenney’s intimate set Songs for Playboys with pianist Ellis Larkins and bassist Joe Benjamin. Kenny’s sweet but haunting voice is a taste well worth acquiring. These Japan-only reissues can be ordered online at ejazzlines.com.