Andy Bey - Pages From An Imaginary Life (2014) .

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Andy Bey - Pages From An Imaginary Life (2014) .

Andy Bey - Pages From An Imaginary Life (2014)
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 286 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 159 Mb | Scans included
Vocal Jazz, Soul Jazz, Piano Jazz | Label: HighNote | # HCD 7266 | Time: 01:06:40

Coming off his Grammy-nominated 2013 album, The World According to Andy Bey, vocalist/pianist Andy Bey delivers the equally compelling 2014 release Pages from an Imaginary Life. As with its predecessor, Pages finds the jazz iconoclast returning to his roots with a set of American Popular Song standards done in a ruminative, stripped-down style. This is Bey, alone at the piano, delving deeply into the harmony, melody, and lyrics of each song. But don't let the spare setting fool you. Bey is a master of interpretation. In his seventies at the time of recording, and having performed over the years in a variety of settings from leading his own swinging vocal trio, to working with hard bop pioneer Horace Silver, to exploring the avant-garde with Archie Shepp, Bey has aged into a jazz oracle who doesn't so much perform songs as conjure them from somewhere in the mystical ether of his psyche. Famously blessed with a distinctive, sonorous baritone warble, Bey's voice has only ripened over the years to a warm, burnished, woody resonance; a sound perfectly suited for these poignant, romantic songs. In his hands, songs like "My Foolish Heart," "How Long Has This Been Going On?," and "Everything I Have Is Yours," take on new hues of gorgeous devastation. And yet, there's still something hopeful, swinging, and urbane about Bey's performances, and songs like "Lover Come Back to Me" and "Take the 'A' Train," are, as with all of the music on Pages from an Imaginary Life, joyous, earthy celebrations of life and love.

Producer Joe Fields has always been a fine developer of jazz talent. But his greatest gift may be in crafting career renaissances for established yet stalled artists. He did it with Mark Murphy in the 1970s and '80s, shaping a string of masterpieces for his Muse label. On his Savant and HighNote labels, Fields has since done the same for Mary Stallings, Sheila Jordan, Barbara Morrison and Freddy Cole. (And that's just the singers.)

As potentially epic as his revitalization of Murphy are Fields' recent sessions

with Andy Bey. Appreciating that the septuagenarian vocalist and pianist is best served in minimalist settings, last year Fields helped shape the finest album of Bey's career, the stellar solo outing The World According to Andy Bey. Fields and Bey stay true to the same redoubtable formula across these 15 tracks.

The playlist is divided into four "pages," each tracing a romantic or philosophic arc built around standards augmented by one Bey original. Bey's once-mighty four-octave voice has diminished to ash; or, more accurately, platinum dust. Phrase for phrase, he now packs a bruised emotional wallop rivaled only by Billie Holiday. They share an incomparably noble vulnerability. Never has "Good Morning Heartache" sounded so gorgeously despondent (or, at least, not since Holiday), nor "My Foolish Heart" or "Everything I Have Is Yours" more tenderly blissful. Bravo, too, to Bey for unearthing Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's cunning survivalist anthem "Dog Eat Dog," from the failed musical Saratoga. The new compositions are equally satisfying, extending from the dark jaggedness of "Jealousy" to the hard-earned wisdom of "Humor Keeps Us Alive" and "Bad Luck May Be Good Luck." As for Bey's playing, it is exquisite, suggesting a melding of Keith Jarrett and Oscar Peterson.

Andy Bey - Pages From An Imaginary Life (2014) .


Page 1:

01. My Foolish Heart (05:04)
02. How Long Has This Been Going On? (05:44)
03. Jealousy (03:29)
04. I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues (05:47)

Page 2:

05. Love for Sale (04:21)
06. Worried Life Blues (04:12)
07. Bad Luck May Be Good Luck (04:49)
08. Lover Come Back to Me (03:13)

Page 3:

09. Good Morning Heartache (04:53)
10. Dog Eat Dog (02:12)
11. Humor Keeps Us Alive (03:46)
12. Take the 'A' Train (03:14)

Page 4:

13. Everything I Have Is Yours (04:47)
14. All That Glitter's Not Gold (05:20)
15. All Roads Lead Back to You (05:33)

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