Yesterday saw the release of Robin McKelle’s second album, “Modern Antique.” As a great fan of her first album, I was happy to see that she is rocking some more of those jazz standards. Since Lavay Smith doesn’t put out albums anymore, I have to get my good standards where I can find ’em, and McKelle is worth every penny paid to iTunes — in my opinion, this album even tops her 2005 release. Her voice simply flies on wings of trumpeting eagles, people.
Comparatively, you can think of the standards album Queen Latifah released last year which was eh, lukewarm. I like Latifah but McKelle is a real jazz vocalist — maybe you’d call it torch singing, but there’s this emotion in the vocals that reflects the band’s bluesy brass. The music is crisp and distinct, nothing mushy or weak, and McKelle keeps up like a champ, easily dominating the entire orchestra behind her in songs like “Cheek To Cheek” and “Abracadabra,” but not overpowering a quiet piano in “Save Your Love For Me.” You can stream the entire album at the Cheap Lullaby site and see if I’m just talking out of my ear here.
Robin McKelle — Abracadabra Robin McKelle — Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen (from “Introducing Robin McKelle”)
Lavay Smith & Her Red-Hot Skillet Lickers — Walk Right In, Walk Right Out