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FEBRUARY 15, 2007

Julie Kelly (Chase Music Group)
**** Four Stars

L.A.-based Kelly deserves a bump up on the recognition scale. The lustrous-voiced, emotionally penetrating jazz singer is as good as it gets, and can handle anything -- and does on this gorgeous album, arranged with flair by Tom Garvin. There's contemporary modern jazz with Larry Goldings' lilting "Moonbird", affixed with lyrics by Kelly, including a vocalese chorus. She romps through "You're My Everything", swaggering on the second chorus like a hip instrumentalist. She's telling on Jobim-Moraes' bossa, "Ela E Carioca", in both English and persuasive Portugese; brings jazz brio to Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock", completely inhabits "I'm Glad There Is You", done at an intoxicating crawl; scats alluringly on "Your Blues". The superb backup band comprises West Coast pianist Mike Wofford, reedman Bob Sheppard, bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe LaBarbera. On the day of 2007's Grammys, here's hoping that next year, Kelly is in contention. She should be.
--Zan Stewart





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