There are two things Seattle vocalist Kelley Johnson knows how to do: provide a home for Nana, the cutest kitten on earth, and sing jazz/blues songs.
Returning from her second six-week stint educational and performing tour for the U.S. State Department, Kelly Johnson releases her latest disc Home with thirteen songs by notable composers as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Mancini and Mercer and Irving Berlin.
Starting off with the Abbey Lincoln penned "Should’ve Been," Johnson does not follow the original format - she makes it her own.
On the self composed (along with James Knapp) "Home", it is easy to see how Johnson fits right into a blues mold.
The Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer classic "Moon River" is another example of how Johnson’s Midwest roots work here. It will be hard to imagine after hearing her version and the countless others, how people will not gravitate back to this one.
Pianist Geoffrey Keezer stands out on "Be Careful, It’s My Heart". Some may agree that without Keezer’s playing on this, the song may not work.
Johnson’s husband and alternate pianist, John Hansen also contributes beautiful piano lines in "A Lovely Night." Johnson has the luxury of picking from two great pianists and both (along with Nathan Beck and Paul Gabrielson on bass, Matt Jorgensen and Julian Macdonough on drums and all horns by Jay Thomas) stand out with their own contributions of composition and arrangements.
On the inside cover of Home, there is a fuzzy picture of a river. Kelly Johnson’s streaming vocals make it all crystal clear.