Monday, July 9, 2018

Marty Elkins: “Fat Daddy” (2018) CD Review

Marty Elkins is an extremely talented jazz vocalist based in New York. Her voice fits with the best of the classic jazz singers, those women you turn to again and again. On her new release, Fat Daddy, Marty Elkins delivers excellent, heartfelt, and totally enjoyable renditions of some classic songs. Though the songs chosen for this release are all many decades old, they are not the well-worn numbers we’ve heard too many times. The band backing her includes Jon-Erik Kellso on trumpet; James Chirillo on guitar; Joel Diamond on piano, organ and alto saxophone; Steve Ash on piano; Lee Hudson on bass; Taro Okamoto on drums and tambourine; and Leopoldo Fleming on conga and claves.

Marty Elkins opens the album with “You Turned The Tables On Me,” her beautiful voice backed by just bass at the start. There is something amusing about this song, particularly in lines like “I always thought when you bought/The lovely presents you bought/Why hadn’t you bought me more.” This track develops into a fun, sweet version, and includes just a bit of scat at one point. That’s followed by “On Revival Day,” a song written by Andy Razaf, and recorded by Bessie Smith. The first time I listened to this disc, the moment this track began, I found myself with a goofy grin on my face. This one is an absolute delight, a bit of blues, a bit of gospel, a bit of New Orleans jazz, and a whole lot of joy. This song rhymes “hallelujah” and “peculiar,” so there. I love the work on trumpet. This song feels like a spiritual celebration, and is bound to lift your spirits.

Things then turn mellow for “How Can You Face Me,” a song about the end of a romance, written by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf. But after a moment, it kicks in with a nice steady rhythm, like she has decided she should not have to suffer. After all, it’s the guy’s fault, he was the one being dishonest, and she’s not going to remain down. “After you broke each vow/How can you face me now?” she asks, perhaps even challenges, him. There is more wonderful stuff on horn, and also guitar. Then on “That’s All There Is To That” Marty Elkins’ vocal performance has me entranced. It is smooth and sexy, and contains more than a dash of humor.

The trumpet gets “It’s Too Hot For Words” going, like a call to open our windows, to come out into the streets. This is one of my favorite tracks, and it certainly feels like the perfect song right now. “It’s too hot for words/There’s nothing like relaxation/Can’t endure this temperature/But if you want to make love, okay!” Amen! I love the excitement and joy in her delivery of “Okay!” Her humor shines through on this track.  There is more lovely work on horn. Actually, each of the musicians gets a chance to shine here, and I particularly love Taro Okamoto’s drumming. The fun continues with “Cow Cow Boogie,” with that cool rhythm on piano and some delicious stuff on horn and keys. There is a nice little jam here, and a certain playfulness to Marty’s vocal performance.

“Fat Daddy,” the album’s title track, is another fun and delightful tune to get you moving and shaking.  I’ve got men who are younger, handsome too/They just don’t move me like you do.” This track features some nice work on guitar, but it’s the horn that really makes this one so enjoyable. There is a bit of a New Orleans flavor here, which I love. “These Foolish Things” is a romantic number that, like most romantic songs these days, makes me think of my girlfriend (“Don’t get mushy,” she reminds me, too late). “Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant/A fairground’s painted swings/These foolish things remind me of you.”  The album then concludes with “Trav’lin’ All Alone,” a groovy and catchy number with a prominent bass line.

CD Track List
  1. You Turned The Tables On Me
  2. On Revival Day
  3. How Can You Face Me
  4. That’s All There Is To That
  5. It’s Too Hot For Words
  6. Cow Cow Boogie
  7. I Cover The Waterfront
  8. It’s A Pity To Say Goodnight
  9. My Old Flame
  10. Fat Daddy
  11. I Can’t Face The Music
  12. Sugar
  13. These Foolish Things
  14. Trav’lin’ All Alone
Fat Daddy was released on July 6, 2018 on Nagel Heyer Records.

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