With Marty Elkins’ latest collection Fat Daddy, the phrase “re-imagining” just won’t do. We should be inspired to search for a higher minded term when it comes to describing this kind of joyful revisiting and refreshing of songs from the early heyday of jazz (1920s - 1950s) and making them ultra-relevant to our modern sensibilities.
The versatile, veteran NYC singer does so much more than take 14 songs (some easily remembered, many delightfully obscure and worth reconnecting with) on a brisk but deeply moving stroll down memory lane. With her deeply soulful, divinely bluesy and often graceful and wistful vocals, she inhabits them as if she were transporting herself back to the moment the legends first shared them onstage. She breezes, swings, romps through and caresses them like they never belonged to anyone else.
The proverbial “rabbit hole” goes delightfully deep, with many songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald (“Cow Cow Boogie,” “It’s A Pity To Say Goodnight”) and Billie Holiday (“Travelin’ Alone,” “My Old Flame”) actually having earlier, surprising origins. Elkins is backed by a batch of stellar musicians with mile-long resumes, including trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso, guitarist James Chirillo, and pianist Steve Ash. It was masterfully produced by Joel Diamond, who contributes piano, organ and alto sax to sweetly appealing yet often lively and rambunctious flow.
Do yourself a favor – while you’re enjoying Elkins’ takes on these great tunes, let this incredible vocal interpreter be your guide to some fascinating mining of American musical history. Fat Daddy will transport your jazz sensibilities to places you haven’t visited in way too long!