Andy and The Bey Sisters
[Rudy Van Gelder Remasters]
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2008, Volume 15, #1
Written by John Metzger
Mon January 14, 2008, 09:35 AM CST
Andy Bey and his sisters Geraldine and Salome never really got their due. Over the course of 11 years, they slowly but surely earned a sterling reputation in select circles for their concert performances and worked their way into some of the finer jazz venues of the 1960s. With only three collaborative albums to their names, however, they long ago were lost to the ages. Recently reissued as part of the "RVG Remasters" series that was spearheaded by its namesake Rudy Van Gelder, ’Round Midnight — the outfit’s second set since moving to Prestige from RCA and its final endeavor overall — is yet another attempt to obtain some much needed attention for the ensemble.
Recorded near the end of their stint as a trio — Andy and The Bey Sisters disbanded two years after the effort was made — ’Round Midnight is an uneven affair that doesn’t always provide a model showcase for the group’s talents. Its construction was meant to evoke both the mood and the flow of the ensemble’s stage show, and it begins in fine fashion with the introductory and aptly titled Love Medley. Geraldine Bey’s seductive reading of I Love You sits squarely between Salome’s feisty interpretation of Love Is Just Around the Corner and Andy’s deep, yearning approach to Love You Madly, and the results effectively put the vocalists’ distinctive personalities on display.
As ’Round Midnight progresses, however, it quickly becomes apparent that Andy and The Bey Sisters is lacking, at times, both energy and enthusiasm. The performances largely feel overly rehearsed and constrained, and while the music often is quite lovely, particularly whenever the trio invokes its tightly intertwined harmonies, it also sounds as if the group is sleepwalking through its repertoire. Still, there are a few highlights among the offerings: Andy and The Bey Sisters brings a haunting, mournfulness to the Thelonious Monk-penned title track; it lends an air of gospel reverence to God Bless the Child; and it settles comfortably into the swinging groove of Ray Charles’ Hallelujah, I Love Her So, which is elevated even further by Kenny Burrell’s effortless guitar accompaniment.
Overall, though, ’Round Midnight never really achieves the transcendence it requires. Consequently, it is more likely to appeal to diehard jazz aficionados and collectors than to newcomers. Regardless, anyone who takes the time to listen closely to the set will catch at least a fleeting glimpse of Andy and The Bey Sisters’ magical allure. ½
'Round Midnight is available from
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Other Rudy Van Gelder Remasters Releases
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box