Bev Kelly: Love Locked Out

The singer was a master of the gloom of love gone wrong, but her 1959 Riverside album really needed one or two brighter tracks


This was Ms Kelly’s second LP, in which Riverside allowed her to pick all her own songs in tandem with arranger and pianist Jimmy Jones. She stated that she wanted to sing songs that everyone knew but that haven’t been done before. All are in the love-gone-wrong category and with Bev being a dramatic style of singer, the mood becomes dark and gloomy.

She integrates very well with a high-class combo here with notable contributions coming from Jones, Harry Edison and that reliable session man, Jerome Richardson. The singing is clear and right on the beat, the support good all around but it is just too melancholy altogether without the relief of at least one bright, uptempo swinger, or even just one standard that is not about lost love. Beverley does very well with My Ship and even Gloomy Sunday where her vocal lines are strong but nothing here is likely to lighten the mood of the listener.

Fortunately for buyers of this new release there are three bonus tracks from earlier recordings where Bev sings in a bright, flourishing mood backed by the Pat Moran quartet. She recorded her first album with pianist Pat Moran and bassist Scott LaFaro in 1957 and she is obviously extremely comfortable in this setting. What A Difference A Day Made is a standout track, with Lullaby Of The Leaves close behind.

Bev Kelly is an excellent singer who gave up a promising career to look after her son, but she has returned to recording and night-club work occasionally over the years. She also studied for years and gained a doctorate as a psychotherapist. Despite the depressive mood of Love Locked Out, this is high-quality jazz singing and those three bonus tracks alone almost justify purchase of the LP.

(1) My Ship; Lost April; Lonelyville; I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life; Weak For The Man; Love Look Away (2) Lullaby Of The Leaves (1) Tuesday’s Child; Love Locked Out; Away From Me; Fool That I Am; Gloomy Sunday; (2) What A Difference A Day Made; A Sunday Kind Of Love (45.49)
(1) Kelly (v); Jerome Richardson (ts); Harry “Sweets “Edison (t); Kenny Burrell (elg); Jimmy Jones (p); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson, Johnny Cresci, Roy Haynes (d). NYC, 27-29 October 1959.
(2) Kelly (v); Sam Most (f); Pat Moran (p); John Doling (b); Johnny Whited (d). Hollywood, 1956 & NYC March-April 1957.
Supper Club 026