Miss Justine: "Tasty"
JUSTINE has worked with Shirley Scott, Ray Charles, Keter Betts, Al Grey, Butch Ballard, Bootsie
Barnes, Don Patterson, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Barron, McCoy Tyner, Lionel
Hampton, Johnny Hartman and her musical mentor for over fifteen years, the
late pianist Gerald Price. On "Tasty" and her latest, "The Many Moods of Miss Justine," discover why lyricist and jazz historian Gene Lees dubbed her
"the lady with the amazing pipes."
Personnel: Tom Lawton, piano; Matt Parrish, bass; Leon Jordan, drums; Bill Lacy, trumpet; Larry McKenna, saxophone; Gerald (Twig) Smith, guitar.
"Maybe" / " Where Do You Start" / "Star Eyes" / "No More" / "Moondance" / "I Just Dropped By To Say Hello" / "Donšt You Know I Care" / "Goodbye" / "Love Look Away" / "Mr. Kicks" / "Herešs To Life" / "Peter Gunn" / "Išll Be Seeing You"
What the critics say:
"...features highly regarded Philly saxman Larry McKenna. The album is so titled due to the singer's wish to mix the instrumentation throughout, presenting voice with piano and bass, or adding drums, or adding sax and/or trumpet.
She presents thirteen well-chosen songs that consist of some well-selected standards as well as some obscure and interesting alternatives. The lyrics to Henry Mancini's 'Peter Gunn,' which I think that I heard once, back in the era of automobile tail fins, are one good example. Oscar Brown, Jr.'s 'Mr. Kicks,' the title of his 1960-ish Chicago revue, is given an animated performance. Two songs associated with Johnny Hartman, 'I Just Dropped By To Say Hello' and Duke Ellington's 'Don't You Know I Care,' offer a polished memory. The standard 'Star Eyes,' immortalized by Charlie Parker, is here presented with the infrequently heard lyrics and some attractive guitar fills from Gerald (Twig) Smith.
Miss Justine...certainly does justice to these venerable melodies. She keeps it lively and the set is filled with brief solos, most notably from McKenna and trumpeter Bill Lacy."
- All About Jazz.com
"She keeps her word when she speaks of 'different instrumentations create many moods' with a range spanning lone piano backing (the jaunty 'Love Look Away') through guitar and piano duets ('Angel Eyes,' 'I Just Dropped By to Say Hello') to several piano trio selections or trio with trumpet ('Maybe') to quintet with both horns on 'Moondance.' The disc ends with (Lee) Smith's softly chorded strings behind Miss Justine on the old favorite 'I'll Be Seeing You,' complete with understated guitar ride, which cast a sort of Julie London/Barney Kessel 'Cry Me a River' vibe. Here's a tip of the hat to a lady that didn't have to jump on the recent female singer bandwagon - she was already well on board."
"Justine is a beloved member of the Philadelphia jazz scene, and her recordings keep getting better and better...because of the diversity of repertoire she intended for the recording. And it is diverse, from the seldom-heard swinger by Billy Strayhorn, 'Maybe,' with its turnarounds at the end of the arrangement, allowing for Miss Justine to personalize the song and leave a lasting final impression in the tradition of Etta Jones or Nancy Wilson. But then she revives Henry Mancini's 'Peter Gunn' theme, sometimes performed as an instrumental but rarely as a vocal...Keeys adds wit for the sense of danger and fervid romantic rejection for coolness. On the one hand, she handles Van Morrison's 'Moon Dance' with the underlying pushing of the beat to bring across the meaning of the words. On the other, she pays tribute to Shirley Horn with 'Here's to Life,' Tom Lawton's piano following Keeys as she takes her time in interpreting the song with the familiar sense of lushness and leisure and her own sense of knowing.
Indeed, Keeys' voice is one of the classic song stylist, full of wisdom that seeps through the words as she in effect seems to share details about her life, rather than just running through lyrics. Her obvious joy of singing comes through, an occasional unexpected laugh, as heard on Oscar Brown Jr.'s 'Mr. Kicks.' And when saxophonist Larry McKenna joins in with his gorgeous Stan Getz-like authority on songs like 'Where Do You Start,' the natural effect between two long-time friends is like that of Houston Person and Etta Jones during some of their 20 years of joint recordings. In addition, pianist Lawton made sure that the arrangements matched the Keeys personality as she covered her many moods, from regret to joy, from incipient uncertainty to accumulated strength. A pleasure to listen to, Miss Justine reaffirms her talent as one of those rare singers who can infuse a song with her own personality as if she were were confiding meaningful information with her friends, her listeners."
- Jazz Review.com
The long-overdue debut of a Philadelphia original, with pianists Don Wilson and Jimmy Gaskins, bassists Matt Parrish and Darryl Hall, drummer Milt McLaurin, guest guitarist Gerald Smith, and a special live "Remembrance" dedicated to and featuring the legendary Gerald Price: "I'm Old Fashioned"/"Hello Like Before"/"Jazz Ain't Nothin' But Soul"/"Someone to Watch Over Me"/"Hasta Manana"/"What Do You See in Her"/"You and I"/"Someone to Light Up My Life"/"Knocks Me Off My Feet"/"You Do."
Download individual tunes or entire CDs in MP3 format!
What the critics say:
"...There are shades of Billie Holiday in her voice but not in style. Justine is a truly capable vocalist and is accompanied collectively by...a truly competent Philly group.
...She spent many years with the late pianist Gerald Price who appears on the last track which is from an older live club date. Tunes are varied and include compositions by Gershwin, Mercer, Jobim and Stevie Wonder. Justine treats all the songs with immaculate good taste..."
"Miss Justine treats great songs with velvet gloves, dispenses a little love advice, and handles ditties by writers from Jerome Kern to Stevie Wonder in a regal way...fine singing." - Philadelphia Inquirer
"Miss Justine has...elements of Ella Fitzgerald's swing and Sarah Vaughan's melismatic sweep and Billie Holiday's emotional edge...She digs in, coloring each line with just the right vibrato, turning each phrase with the right mix of care and daring...Miss Justine on her own does this legacy proud." - Cadence
"...her delightful new album. With a style that offers adherence to melody, the wisdom of maturity with the retention of youthful joy and a sweetness in the upper register combined with an occasional kittenish purr, Miss Justine's strength lies in communicating deeply felt emotion with her listeners." - Jazz News
Download or LISTEN to MISS JUSTINE (either a brief stereo Sound Sample by clicking on the CD cover, or the entire song by clicking on the tune title): "I'm Old Fashioned"
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