I’ve admired the singer / songwriter Kally Price for some time now, and think it’s a very good omen that she was appearing at the very cozily singular Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco (visit it here) three days after we arrived in California. She was joined by pianist / accordionist / composer Rob Reich (of Gaucho and other groups), string bassist Dan Fabricant, and drummer Beth Goodfellow. Kally doesn’t shout or scream or gyrate, but it’s clear that her singing and her songs come from deep within her — a powerful private soul that she shares most readily with us. She doesn’t sing at her songs, or even sing her songs . . . she becomes them. And the three other musicians on the little stage gave her empathic support and love.
Here are some of the highlights of their two sets.
After a terse, romping I GOT RHYTHM (mixing Fifty-Second Street, Mel Powell, Bud Powell, and Kansas City) that the trio played while I was getting my camera accustomed to the dark, Rob offered his own composition, an unnamed waltz that he said was somewhat spooky. For the moment, then, it’s SPOOKY WALTZ:
Kally shared one of her songs — simple yet intense, apparently plain but full of oblique twists and turns. She calls it MY JOB:
She is very fond of the great singers of the Thirties, and here’s a medley that connects Billie Holiday and Ivie Anderson, in LET’S CALL A HEART A HEART and LOVE IS LIKE A CIGARETTE:
Tampa Red’s ROCK IT IN RHTYHM, which everyone on the stand was more than able to enact with style:
Rob, Dan, and Beth offer a spirited GLADIOLUS RAG:
I associate FLAMINGO with the 1941 Ellington band and rhapsodic delivery of the lyrics by Herb Jeffries (still with us!); here, Dan Fabricant takes it on himself to reinvent those same lyrics: the effect is mesmerizing, more or less:
Kally returns for a fervent WILLOW WEEP FOR ME:
Her tribute to the late Regina Pontillo, THE HOPEFUL PLACE, a small devout masterpiece:
MELT MY HEART, a song with hymnlike intensity:
And finally her own LOVE FOR THE ASKING:
I hope the world keeps discovering Kally Price and her noble abetters. I can’t decide if she sings with a powerful delicacy or a delicate power, but it really doesn’t matter. We are so very lucky to have her.
May your happiness increase.