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New album from vocalist Marty Elkins

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    Posted: 15 Aug 2018 at 8:03pm

Vocalist MARTY ELKINS has a special affinity for older jazz and swing tunes. She has a liquid, bluesy voice that is the perfect vehicle for standards originally sung by artists like Alice Faye, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ethel Waters. Although the 14 songs on Elkins' newest CD, FAT DADDY (Nagel-Heyer Records, July 6, 2018), were all written between 50 and 90 years ago, Elkins makes them feel as fresh and relevant today as ever.
FAT DADDY is Elkins' sixth CD since 2000. Four of her CDs are on Nagel-Heyer Records, a German label that specializes in mainstream jazz with internationally known artists. She found her way to that label through her friend Warren Vache, who also records for them.
Elkins began singing jazz while she was in college in Boston and had the opportunity to perform with pianist Dave McKenna. She came to New York City in the early 1980s and sat in with Max Kaminsky's band at Jimmy Ryan's, which was a popularvenue for traditional jazz and the last surviving jazz club on 52nd Street. Elkins then spent years honing her chops playing in clubs in and around New York with many of the top musicians that live and work in the area. She also performs from time to time in Europe.
Elkins is joined on FAT DADDY by some old friends with whom she often works, including JOEL DIAMOND,a prolific producer, composer and pianist who has worked with a range of vocalists including Jane Olivor and Gayle Winters. He produced this CD and joins Elkins on piano and organ on several tunes. JON-ERIK KELLSO on trumpet performs with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. Guitarist JAMES CHIRILLO has worked with many of the swing era's greats, including Benny Goodman, Buck Clayton, and Benny Carter, among others. STEVE ASH, who also plays piano on this disc, was selected by The Kennedy Center and The U.S. State Department to tour West Africa and France as part of The Jazz Ambassadors in 2004. Bass player LEE HUDSON is a busy touring and recording artist who performed with Lou Donaldson, Illinois Jacquet, and Dizzy Gillespie, among many others. Drummer TARO OKAMOTO has played with such jazz notables as Reggie Workman, Duke Jordan, Barry Harris, Billy Harper and Eddie Henderson. Veteran percussionist LEOPOLDO FLEMING is perhaps best known for his performances with Nina Simone, with whom he worked for 17 years.
The 14 songs on this project were all written and originally performed between the 1920s and 1950s. Although many of these songs are associated with Billie and Ella, Elkins manages to stay true to the sensibility of the songs while sounding unlike anyone else. Her voice is attractive and relaxed. She sings with a lot of warmth and feeling, but never emotes. The lyrics and mood of a song are much more important to her than mere pyrotechnics. Her favorite instrument is the trumpet, and it's easy to hear how it's influenced her tone. She loves to sing ballads, but she can swing as well as any of the old masters. "I sing these songs because they make me happy," says Elkins. "They're fun to sing and listen to. They never get old. When I hear this music, it's like being wrapped in a warm blanket."
Elkins opens the CD with her swinging version of "You Turned the Tables on Me," which was first recorded by Alice Faye in 1936. Elkins chose to include "On Revival Day" after hearing LaVern Baker's recording of it on her 1958 "LaVern Baker Sings Bessie Smith." "How Can You Face Me" is a Fats Waller tune from 1936, and "That's All There Is To That" is a Clyde Otis/ Kelly Owens tune that was originally released by Dinah Shore in 1956. "It's Too Hot For Words" was first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1935. Holiday also recorded "Trav'lin' All Alone" in 1937, and she recorded around 14 versions of "I Cover The Waterfront." "Cow Cow Boogie," which is associated with Ella Fitzgerald, was written for the 1942 movie "Ride 'em Cowboy." Ella also made famous "It's A Pity To Say Goodnight," which was originally recorded by Dorothy Squires in 1946. "My Old Flame" has been recorded by many artists. It was composed in 1934 by Arthur Johnston (music) and Sam Coslow (lyrics) for the film "Belle of the Nineties." It was originally sung by Mae West accompanied by Duke Ellington's orchestra. Billie Holliday also did several versions of it. "Fat Daddy" is a fun tune first performed by Dinah Washington. "These Foolish Things" is another widely recorded tune. It was written in 1936 by Englishmen Jack Strachey and Eric Maschwitz, who was romantically linked to the Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong while working in Hollywood. The lyrics reflect his longing for her after they parted and he returned to England. "I Can't Face the Music," recorded by Ethel Waters in 1926, is one of the oldest songs on this disc. "Sugar," also known as "That Sugar Baby o' Mine," was also recorded in 1926 by Ethel Waters. "Trav'lin' All Alone" was written by James C. Johnson in 1929 but made popular by Billie Holiday 1937.
Stephen King said, "Sooner or later, everything old is new again," and Marty Elkins demonstrates just how that's done by making the chestnuts on FAT DADDY sound as fresh as the day they were minted. Her straight-ahead, smoky interpretations create a stimulating immediacy, because she imbues these songs with a naturalness and sense of sheer fun that only an experienced artist can evoke.
About Marty Elkins
Marty Elkins was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was exposed to jazz when she was in college in Boston. Her life changed when she found a copy of Billie Holiday's "Lady in Satin" in a local Woolworth's bin in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Holing up in her room with this recording and a Bessie Smith record, she became devoted to jazz. She had the opportunity to sit in with Dave McKenna, who had a steady gig at the Copley Plaza. She also landed a gig singing with a vocal trio in Bo Winiker's band, floating around the Boston harbor singing Andrews Sisters songs.
Elkins moved to New York in the early eighties and started hanging out at the last clubs from the Fifty-Second street era -- Jimmy Ryan's and Eddie Condon's. She began singing with Max Kaminsky's band to enable Max to get off the bandstand and sell his book. She then spent some years in "the trenches," playing various bars and restaurants in the New York area. Fortunately, she always had the pleasure of singing with excellent musicians.
Lately she has been free-lancing in New York City and the surrounding areas, appearing at the Falcon Art Center in Marlboro, NY, with "The Saints of Swing," Jazz Vespers at the First Presbyterian Church of Phillipstown, in Cold Spring, NY, and various music venues around the city, such as Smalls and Zeb's Sound and Light.
FAT DADDY  was released on July 6, 2018 and is available at Amazon and iTunes .

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