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Album Review

Kelley Johnson's CD is full of surprises. She sings her own lyrics to Joe Henderson's "Recorda Me," arranges several of the pieces, and holds her own with an impressive group that includes either Fred Hersch or John Hansen on piano and several different horn players (including altoist Steve Nelson). Although the repertoire contains quite a few standards, each treatment sounds fresh, with some rhythmic displacement of the melodies, unusual frameworks, and consistently mature singing. Whether it be a faster than usual "How Long Has This Been Going On," "Stompin' at the Savoy," Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away," or an introspective version of "Make Someone Happy," this is a CD that rewards repeated listenings; it introduces a potentially significant new voice in the Seattle-based Kelley Johnson.


Born: June 20, 1958 in Milwaukee, WI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Not to be confused with British heavy metal/hard rock guitarist Kelly Johnson (who was a member of the all-female headbanger combo Girlschool back in the late-'70s and early-'80s), the Kelley Johnson profiled in this bio is an American jazz vocalist who has been active in Seattle since the late '80s. Kelley Johnson favors a clean, lucid, straightforward vocal style that has inspired a variety of comparisons. There are hints of Carmen McRae in her warm, intimate phrasing, and her effective use of...
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Make Someone Happy, Kelley Johnson
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