Scott Yanow, New York City Jazz Record
Kelly Green impressed many listeners last year with her debut CD Life Rearranged. Her piano playing is sophisticated and swinging, her vocals are quietly expressive and inventive and and she is not shy to take chances and stretch herself even on familiar material.
On Volume One, the pianist-singer (originally from Florida) utilizes her regularly working New York trio. Bassist Alex Tremblay, and drummer Evan Hyde are with Green every step of the way, not only echoing her musical directions but also anticipating them.
While her debut featured six of her originals, Volume One is comprised mostly of standards. The opening, “I’m Old Fashioned” is a little ironic for the stretched out melody, which includes pauses that have been added to the melody, and modernized chords (worthy of McCoy Tyner), resulting in a fresh version that is certainly not old-fashioned. Her charming rendition of “I Wish I Knew”, features a vocal that could be called conversational improvising (falling between singing and talking) with the singer getting looser in the second chorus, almost phrasing like a saxophonist.
Her lone original on this set, “Daily Lies” is purposefully dark and about the lies upon which relationships are sometimes built. “My Ideal”, a Swing Era” standard rarely heard today, includes the obscure verse and has a particularly creative second vocal.
Joni Mitchell’s “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines” gets a rare revival that reminds one that it is basically a blues. The Billy Eckstine hit “I Understand”, is followed by the closer, a boppish medley of “Marmaduke” and “Honeysuckle Rose” (they both share the same chord changes) that is full of joy.
Kelly Green is a delightful up-and-comer well worth discovering.
For more information, visit kellygreenpiano.com. This project is at Birdland Theater Jan. 22nd.