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A Beverly Kenney Archive
compiled by Bill Reed
Entire contents copyright © Cellar Door Books 2009
1. Two E-Mails From Out of the Blue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. The Last Days of Beverly Kenney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 3. Mort! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 4. Discography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 5. Reviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 6. About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
3 TWO E-MAILS FROM OUT OF THE BLUE By Bill Reed
An e-mail that I received in early 2007 from a family member of Beverly Kenney, born long after the singer`s 1960 suicide, contained some of the following information and observations about Kenney`s place in the family scheme of things. The missive was generated by an entry about Beverly that was posted on my blog, People-vs.-Drchilledair in 2005. At the time that I wrote it, Kenney was a far more obscure figure than she is today, just a few years later. When I uploaded my article about Beverly there were but a handful of internet search engine “hit’s” for her in English. Most were in Japanese; now, however, those in English have escalated tenfold. Part of the reason for this might be the highly successful releases in Japan on SSJ Records of three volumes of previously unreleased Kenney tracks. Reprinted in full in my e-book, A Fine Romance: My Lifelong Affair with Jazz Singing and Singers, my blog entry was a summation of what I knew about Kenney’s life from her birth in Harrison, New Jersey in 1932 up to her death a scant 28 years later. Here are my liner notes for the 2006 Japanese SSJ Records release, Beverly Kenney was born in Harrison, New Jersey on January 29, 1932 and began her professional singing career in Miami Beach in 1953. The following year she joined the Dorsey Brothers band, but only remained with them for a few months before going solo again. And by 1955 she was well on her way. In 1956 alone she recorded three albums accompanied by the likes of Ralph Burns, Johnny Smith and a small group contingent from the Basie band for the prestigious Roost jazz label. And there were appearances in a number of top clubs, like Chicago's Mister Kelly's and on major national TV shows, such as Steve Allen's. In 1957 she signed with a major
4 label, Decca. But by 1960 it was all over. Beset by changing mass tastes in music (Kenney once wrote a song entitled "I Hate Rock and Roll"), suffering money woes, and complicated most likely by undiagnosed manic depression, on April 13th of that year she committed suicide. It is somehow fitting that the issue of this previously unreleased vocal-piano set, the first "new" material by Beverly Kenney in nearly a half-century, should occur in Japan where critics and fans have long continued to revere and appreciate her. In addition to the ten duet sides, included is a bonus track that Kenney made early in her career as part of a tap dance instruction recording. Labeled on the original 78 rpm as "Gay Chicks," the song is in fact a pop tune based on an old African-American saying, "A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But a Bird."
It bears repeating that Beverly’s failed affair with Greenwich Village poet and intellectual Milton Klonsky, referred to in a Wikipedia entry Kenney, was the linchpin of popular New York disc jockey Jonathan Schwartz`s valuable article about her in the November 1992 issue of GQ Magazine. It is also worth noting that Beverly’s best friend, actress Millie Perkins, dated Klonsky after the singer’s breakup with him, and told me that the fact of this seemed to not to bother Kenney at all. The ‘07 e-mail to me opened with a bit about Beverly’s background. I was informed that she was the oldest of 9 children ( + 4 & 4), including a brother who died in infancy, and was especially close to sister Helen who was only eleven months younger. The other siblings were Katy, Jane, Charles (died in infancy), Charlene, Tom, Stephen and Michael. The writer also informed me that she had been meaning to start a website devoted to Kenney, but that it was difficult because of the stigma associated with suicide in her family.
but she was more or .5 Specifically. this silence continues. Her type of music was going out of style. who added that the piece was said to contain “both factual inaccuracies and hurtful insinuations. On the one occasion that family members were convinced to open up about Beverly (to dee-jay Jonathan Schwartz) they ended up feeling “betrayed. The writer also tells me that because of the age gap between Beverly and her younger sister Charlene. NJ. Charlene. Such reticence does not seem to extend to this Kenney family member who wrote me. I am told by my correspondent. while Kenney’s mother was still alive. that the probable “situatonal trigger” was that her career wasn't going very well because of the oncoming tsunami of rock and roll.” What that catalyst might have been will most likely forever remain a mystery because Beverly`s mother destroyed all of her daughter's distraught letters to her written in the final days of Kenney's life. The pair of surviving brothers were too young to remember much of anything about their oldest sister. The letter closed with the following bits of general Beverly Kenney biography: She was born and raised in Harrison. Charlene had always thought. she forbid any other family members to talk about her daughter. and my writer`s life as well). It now seems to them that maybe it is better to keep silent again. And even long after the matriarch’s death. She says there is little doubt that Kenney suffered from biologically based depression and that it only took “a situational trigger to push her over the edge. Three sisters remain. Her parents divorced. now deceased. but they too are all fairly close-mouthed. had lots of memories of Kenney letting her stay the night in New York with her and taking her places. Beverly was like a second mother to her. exposing her to all kinds of music (which ended up being one of the loves of Charlene`s.” according to my correspondent.
Before his death on October 1990. All of the siblings are very close. “but we don't think of it that way in our family. an almost holy figure in the Greenwich Village of the 1950s. Everyone is the same. One of the first pieces Broyard published was about his father dying of cancer. the chapter title is not Mort’s. he was at pains to assure me. was a great American intellectual.6 less grown by then. essayist and book reviewer. “This guy is the best new young writer in the country. Nobody is a half sibling. and Beverly was very much loved.” ________ But it was an email that I received a few years earlier in early 2005 that was the real eye opener. he also wrote several memorable non-fiction books. 22 Girls. What the Cystoscope Said. Girl Singer. It should also be noted that while Mort calls himself "Sven” in the chapter. Beverly`s two youngest brothers are from her mother`s second marriage. when I eventually spoke with him on the phone. Eventually. In his e-mail he explained to me that he had had a twoyear-long affair with Beverly at the end of her life. Mort’s good friend in the memoir. Dramatis Personae of The Last Days of Beverly Kenney include: Anatole Broyard. that was the only thing that was fictional about his memoir. revered by an impressively diversified group of men and women. the family had problems. If fact. Yes. including Intoxicated by My Illness and Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir.” Milton Klonsky is described by Jonathan Schwartz in his GQ Magazine Kenney profile.” .” as “A man of immense intelligence. he sent me the following chapter about Kenney that was part of an unpublished book he wrote. Upon reading it Norman Mailer said. but if I recall correctly Jonathan Schwartz painted a bad picture of our family. It came from a fellow by the name of Mort Lowenstein. He too was responding to my aforementioned Kenney blog entry. Klonsky threw daring new conversational light on that which was already illumined. For the record.
This is the memoir’s first appearance in English. volume 3 (all three of which I had a hand in producing). She continues to appear regularly both in films and on TV. Joan. She was chosen from among 10. Perkins' initial outing was. . more successful than Seberg's. With the possible exception of Jean Seberg in Preminger's St. fortunately for her. Mort’s memoir of Beverly was translated into Japanese and included in the release of SSJ Records’ CD. no other young novice actress has ever had to carry such a heavy weight. Unreleased Beverly Kenney. She had never acted before in her life when she was plucked from junior model obscurity by director George Stevens.7 Millie Perkins: In 1959 she won what was called "the most coveted screen role since Scarlet O'Hara." that of Anne Frank---without even seeking it. In the Fall of 2009.000 aspirants.
I was not madly in love with anyone at the moment and that always depressed me. and she was now set up with a new apartment and new boyfriend. I said that would be great. Now. (Cheap thrill. and while we were cramped together heading north.8 THE LAST DAYS OF BEVERLY KENNEY By Mort Lowenstein After the weekend in East Hampton with Barbara [from an earlier chapter of 22 Girls] and having met Beverly. ordered a drink. carefree. I was surprised to get his call. Then one night. the trees were a symphony of changing colors. a spot picked her up. The contrast between the two women was so pronounced that although I couldn't go after Beverly (after all she was Milton's girlfriend) I did want someone like her--fun. stretched our limbs and went into the club. the air warm. it was crystal clear that Barbara's emotional blackmail was wearing our relationship thin. Barbara and I had broken up. but she would be squeezed between me and Milton in the Healey on the trip to Connecticut. and that’s when he told me that Beverly and he needed a ride. The lights dimmed. As Beverly went to her dressing room. and awaited the show. We arrived and parked. I could not believe how . gay. He asked me if I wanted to go up and see Beverly who was singing in a club in Connecticut that weekend. she started singing. Milton and I really only saw each other if we were with Anatole. She looked fabulous and sounded even better. I got a call out of the blue from Milton. As the show progressed. huh?) As we headed up the Merritt Parkway. as you have already read. and I was stunned. Well. and so now it became clear why Milton was my new friend. because not only would I get to see Beverly sing. I was curious to see if Beverly would be as good in person as she was on records. the moon was full and rising. all seemed right with the world. Milton and I were seated at a table next to the stage. the top down. It mattered but little to me that my role was that of chauffeur. while Milton [Klonsky] and Anatole [Broyard] were best friends.
I had a date with Carol Werner. not Milton.9 sensational I thought she was. the phone rang again. catch the show. so we decided to drive over and hear Beverly. an old summer fling who loved music. she came over and sat down with Milton and me and every guy in the place was glancing at us in envy. Things continued to slide along. and said good-bye as I dropped Milton and Beverly at Milton's apartment and watched them go in." To my complete astonishment. She was having a fight with Milton and 2. hand in hand. The show was great. It really felt great. I spent Sunday with the the guys in Washington Square Park. I dropped Carol home. and went back to my apartment. and angrily answered. She did not seem that interested and just then Carol returned and so we watched the rest of the show and Carol and I left. could not help but feel elated that: 1. Coming awake. "Yeah. It would have felt greater if it had been me they were envying. and while I was dressing. It was Beverly saying all was now okay and there was no need to come to Julius' and she was sorry she'd bothered me. She was as great as ever. I was the one she called to come to come rescue her. During the intermission. So much for my Sir Galahad opportunity. I said maybe I'd drop back. and came over and chatted with us at intermission. I was sound asleep at 1:30 on a Saturday morning when my phone rang. and give her a ride back to the Village if she wanted. I grabbed the phone. I raced the Healey one or two weekends. She told me when Carol was in the ladies' room that she finished her gig here the next day. As I was about to dash out the door. things were slow. She sounded terrified and said she and Milton were in Julius' tavern and having a terrible fight and would I please come get her? I said I'd be right over. sang a number of songs in our direction. After that weekend. and one day I heard that Beverly was appearing in a club in New Jersey. I'm afraid I was not a great date that night because I could not take my eyes off Beverly. I had no great romance. I heard Beverly's voice on the other end. we headed back to the Village. had dinner with .
Not only would I get to watch her sing again.) Anyhow. . and. my dream started to evaporate like the steam from the tea kettle. I could most certainly respond. so it was a little white lie.. As we pulled out of the Holland Tunnel and headed up Hudson Street. and though I would not do anything overt (it was not cool). dance to Sinatra. brandy.K. retire to the couch. About 11:30 the phone rang waking me up. offering me no clue. and went home to bed. but then it would be just the two of us on the trip back to the Village. . (I cleverly had no other place you could sit---a trick I learned from Anatole. She sat on the couch. yes. Milton and I were not really buddies. by the way. You'd have a drink. and see what happened. As she came into the living room illuminated by only the romantic candlelight I knew what I thought was impossible only a few short months ago was going to happen. she didn't seem as if she cared when I had mentioned it a few days ago. (Dream on. although she was Milton's girl. and. "I thought you were coming to catch the show and drive me home. As I started to boil the water. As we parked the Healey and headed up to the apartment I was both nervous and excited. "Would you like to stop by for a nightcap and wind down?" She said that sounded fine and my spirits leapt to the moon." I said I was just leaving as she called and would be there in a half hour. Now. (O. I would have the Sinatra records on. vodka or wine. She was so ambivalent. puffed up the couch cushions. gin. When we got back to the Village I would ask her if she cared for a nightcap. now I was all charged up as I sprinted to the garage to get the Healey. again it was Beverly. I lighted the candles. candles. She said. an infallible scene. It was. While she went to use the bathroom.) I worked out my plan on the drive over. no encouragement that would . Sven. I said in my most casual. We sat and talked. besides there was that fight she had with Milton. off-hand manner. if she were to initiate something. She said she’d love a cup of tea.10 Anatole and Albie the jewel thief at the San Remo. Anyhow.) I asked her what she would like to drink-brandy. loaded the Sinatra albums.
Two single beds. I did not get too excited. was bent over a toilet bowl with thoughts of survival on his mind. and a hot plate. which in reality was only a few blocks away. he casually mentioned that Milton and Beverly had broken up after a huge fight. The next thing that I could remember was that our great lover with thoughts of seduction on his mind. When I was finally able to stand up. and I dropped her at Milton's apartment. quite a letdown from the fantasies I had harbored for my first night in bed with Beverly. We had a drink. and dreams. "You better sleep over. thanks. I guess she knew she was as "safe" as any woman could ever be. She said to me. so I let it pass. we had another drink. and had rinsed my mouth out about 100 times. I would hardly wait to catch a glimpse of Beverly's nude body under the sheets. I've never been much of a drinker. another. As I got into the bed and lifted the sheet unnecessarily high to see what I so desperately coveted. Beverly was in her bed. after playing tennis with Anatole. Beverly. seldom if ever got drunk and . I better get going. These ladies could drink. They waved and I offered them a ride to their apartment. It was a one-room studio. Carol was in her bed asleep. there it was. I quickly passed out in the famous spoon position. When she finished her tea. Tiny. They hopped in and when we arrived. A few nights later. got into the Healey. When morning came. and so we went down. she said. I was not feeling in peak condition. I quickly stripped down to my undershorts and even in my queasy state. It was the smallest bed I'd ever seen." and patted the bed. loose-fitting flannel nightshirt. and one day. I saw Beverly and a girlfriend Carol walking down the street. knowing they would most likely get back together as they had after the night Beverly had called me.11 lead to me making a move. as I was driving to the garage. a small bathroom. Fall was in the air. So much for Sinatra. covered by a baggy. offered me a drink. I wobbled out of the bathroom. Since I had been through this before. I eagerly accepted and walked into their tiny apartment.
so we changed course. the water still not cold. the three of us crammed ourselves into the Healey and headed to the Lincoln Tunnel. That of course left my mother. As we surfaced in New Jersey. like Will Rogers. So. it was such a great day. happy person you could ever meet. Daisy. Everyone agreed. which was in the most beautiful part of New Jersey. My whole family loved music. but that Milton was standing between . she kept the talons sheathed. Although this would not have been my first choice of what to do. I jumped at the chance to spend more time with Beverly. had some sandwiches. and was the lead singer in our trio.12 sick. we stopped off at the beach. It was beautiful. two years older than I. party. the horse country. We were greeted by one and all. Little did she realize how much I wanted Beverly. so we took off our shoes and waded in up to our knees. Now Danny was the one who had heard Beverly on the radio and thought she was great. and I hoped that some fresh air might make me feel a little better. so we headed the two blocks inland to go to the house and get some lunch. (Alan and I were the doo-wops). who could be the devil to any girl any of her sons dared to bring home. My father Joe was a fantastic man in every respect. was a fine piano player. By this time I was feeling better. and. dance. Before we went to the house. chatted. so I knew both Alan and Danny would really be amazed that their kid brother had arrived on the scene with Beverly Kenney in person. it was through the haze of my hangover that I heard Beverly suggest we all take a drive out to Peapack/Gladstone. I knew he would love Beverly. never met a man (or woman) he didn't like. He loved to sing. My oldest brother. probably because Daisy did not detect a seriousness in my manner about Beverly. He was the most good-natured. Alan. I suggested we detour and head to my parents' house in Deal. played both saxophone and clarinet. Danny. empty. and. So. and besides it was a sensational Indian Summer day. a quiet little town on the Jersey coast. Now a bit about my family only because Beverly was about to walk into the Devils' Den.
so Carol had her work cut out for her. She had done a stint with the Benny Goodman band.who had never received even one vote in a Downbeat Poll. It was one of the "Ten best" weather days of the year. Much to my surprise and delight. I gently leaned over and gave Beverly a "chaste" kiss on the lips. Before long." using a pot for a bongo. she was used to singing with the best musicians in the world. leaving Carol to fend for herself with my family. as shooting stars crossed the incredibly clear skies. As we laid there on the blanket watching the show. we sort of just disappeared. We sat down as the twilight faded into darkness. Without a word to anyone. Now Carol was an artist of some repute. The heavens were aglow. Beverly leaned back to look at the stars. then the trio. Since Beverly was used to singing certain arrangements to songs. We took a break and then Beverly said she'd like to see the moon rise over the ocean. Did I care? Not a whole lot as I grabbed a blanket and headed to the beach with Beverly to watch the moonrise and to see whatever else I might see. It finally wound up with Beverly doing an a capella (as on her album) rendition of "It Ain't Necessarily So. Danny and his Doo-Wops. and finally it was Beverly's turn. the darkness had taken over from twilight and a huge. we were almost stepped on by two fishermen as . she responded. art appreciation was not high on their list. and while my family was big on music. it made it even more complicated. It sounded just like the record. As we ended our embrace and lay on our backs looking about. Not bad. As a slight chill started to touch the air. Needless to say this put bit of pressure on Alan. the temperature was perfect.13 us. and before too long our clothes were only a memory and our nude and somewhat sandy bodies were locked in a passionate embrace---one I'd been dreaming of for a year. Joe sang a few songs. the tide low with small breakers. harvest moon slowly came into view. When the moon started to rise slowly from the horizon. Now. and her album with Johnny Smith featured all Downbeat Poll jazz winners. dinner was served and then we gathered around the piano. The beach was deserted as I spread out the blanket.
I felt extremely elated because our relationship had now escalated from friendship to romance. Things were a bit strained at the house. I learned that Beverly had moved up to a big new apartment on 57th Street and was living by herself. that perhaps I had been a pawn in a war between them. never even seeing us. opened the door. About a week or so after that. but rather retreated from the situation to lick my wounds. asked me if I could come up to her apartment right away. something I thought only a short time before was never going to happen. I never really asked Beverly what was going on or why. I began to feel "used" somehow. So with a warm romantic glow surrounding us.). not mine. and there stood Beverly and Milton. I was starting to wonder how many times I would do this. I guess Carol never did convert my family to the joys of art." when I glanced at my watch. About two weeks later. and how stupid could I be. but jumped into a cab and headed uptown. But since we were all pretty tired. "Time flies when you're having fun. Things did not progress as I thought they would. My first surprise was that Beverly chose to go back to her apartment. and. Beverly was back with Milton. I rushed up the five flights of stairs to her apartment. it was 10:30 and I realized we'd been gone for three hours. I didn't even take time to get the Healey. we piled into the car and headed back to the Village. as they say. As my eyes focused. After some brief good-byes. I did not give it much thought. Well. she called and in a very stress-filled voice. I know what I'd have been watching. Beverly then proceeded to tell me she had told Milton about us and he had become furious and would not accept the fact that she was leaving him and refused to let .14 they walked by. I saw there were a number of fishermen on the beach and I wonder to this day if they had been watching us or watching their lines for a bite. especially in the sand. She sounded as if she were in some sort of trouble. And while our lovemaking was far from what it would become (The first time hardly ever is. I was really disappointed and down in the dumps. hand in hand we headed back to the house. before I could figure out why.
but he was being an irrational nuisance (Read pain in the ass). but was quickly running out of options. I was still working at Bamberger's Department Store in New Jersey and commuting to my job from the Village. it turns out: good for Sven. fun-to-be-with girl and my days of emotional blackmail with Barbara faded from view. yelling and screaming and carrying on in general--all in a poetic manner. bad for Milton. So now. I arrive home a bit early one night and when I saw Beverly. So much for Irish deviltry. told Milton that I did not want to hurt him. not as they would like them to be. the way was clear for our relationship to blossom the way I had dreamed it would on that starry night on the beach in Deal. was so shocked. Finally. I escorted him to the door. Now Milton was my size. Beverly was a joy to be with. I would not be so restrained as I was at present. of course. Poets and writers are different from you and me (at least from me) they live in a creative dreamworld sometimes finding it hard to see things as they are. happy-golucky. But he was really unable to face the fact that he had lost Beverly and was acting very irrational. the UPS man arrived before me. I did not relish the idea of having to use physical force to get him to accept his fate. I had been quiet throughout Beverly's attempt to explain to Milton that he was history. and not at all a physical threat. Finally I had this beautiful. Not so. and if he kept bothering Beverly. we still don't know what he was going to deliver. the store was sending me on a buying trip to Europe and I had an early Sunday . she was a bit shaken.15 her alone. Unfortunately. talented. He. She had a very active imagination and a bit of the Irish devil in her. he had misread it (as had I) and thought I was a pawn. but he is a poet. with Milton a thing of the past. told him to face the facts. I was ecstatic. of course. an intellectual. About this time. I got up. She needed my help to convince him. It seemed she thought she would surprise me by opening the door stark naked. We started seeing each other regularly and most of the time she would spend the night. While Beverly had been trying to let Milton down easy since our first night on the beach.
and I had to leave for the airport in a few hours. put a Scott airpack over my face and took me out of the apartment. they got the fire under control in a very efficient manner and were very helpful and polite to both Beverly and me. even Barbara didn't burn my apartment to ashes. The firemen were great. and the rest was history. I could not stop coughing and it wasn't till I saw the flames lapping at the bedroom door that I realized the dark figure was one of New York City's bravest and my apartment was on fire. sat down for a minute.16 morning flight to London. I heard screams and saw a huge. Beverly thought it would e a good idea to give me a going away party. I saw her on the hall steps getting oxygen. Since I had an early flight and had drunk a trifle more than I should have. so she invited about twelve of my friends over for drinks and dinner. I told him I had to go back in. She started to heat the oil. when just about that time. I passed into a deep sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. It was a long two weeks and I really missed her and could not wait to get back. Some "fun" girl. By now the place was loaded with firemen and hoses. One fireman got me up from the bed. The place was a real mess and it turned out that as she was cleaning up. The next thing I knew. It was a lot of fun and broke up about 1 a. About this time there was a young model in New York who was starting to appear on . I washed up and went right to bed. She told me she had just been booked into the Village Vanguard. She met me at the airport and it was great to see her. It was now about four a. that Beverly was in there someplace. so I showered. and we were both delighted that her career was starting to really move.m. dark figure coming in my window from the fire escape. kissed her a sad good-bye and headed for the airport. said I'd be back in two weeks. and we went out for breakfast. fell asleep. packed. Beverly had had an insatiable desire for french fries. Beverly was not in bed with me. Beverly said she'd clean up the place and be right in. I asked Beverly to call the landlord and get the place fixed. the best jazz club in New York.m.
Now Nicky had a well deserved reputation as a world-class playboy. She sure was fun. I turned around and saw two cigar-smoking guys with two world-class bimbos." one of them yelled out a rather ungentlemanly remark. Her name was Millie Perkins. the bouncer had ejected the two cigars and the bims. was very good looking. until when Beverly started to sing “I Long for a Lover. who was really shy. but only if he'd take her to the Vanguard to see Beverly perform. Beverly went to her dressing room. and I went to the table to wait for Millie and Nicky. not them. The Vanguard of those days was a serious club. I could hear a group of four people behind us talking while Beverly was singing. a Certain Kind of Lover. One night she called Beverly and said that Nicky Hilton of the Hilton Hotels and a much sought-after bachelor had seen her picture on a magazine cover and through his connections had tracked her down and asked her for a date. boats. but after a few songs. As if it had been well orchestrated. to get us the best table. They caused a bit of a stir as they walked over to the table. their talk grew louder. and planes. The place fell silent as the lights dimmed and the spot picked up Beverly. and to please keep quiet. We got to the club. and both Beverly and I knew her. Beverly hardly missed a note. Nicky and I were on these two guys in a blink of an eye and before we could throw our second punches. and had been married to Elizabeth Taylor." The crowd loved her. Beverly arranged with Max Gordon. She was from Fairlawn. but did introduce us to the crowd and loud applause when she finished her song. said yes. The place started to fill up and just about ten minutes before the show was to start. . She looked sensational and my heart skipped a beat as she started off with "You Make Me Feel So Young. it had the best jazz musicians and the best comics. no one else. Millie. This was just not done at the Vanguard. It was a breeding ground for stardom. As they continued to drink more. New Jersey.17 every fashion magazine cover. Nicky and Millie came in. the club owner. you came to hear the performance. He raced cars. I told them we came to hear the girl.
So what if she almost burned my apartment down? The weeks and months raced by. either staying out late in clubs hearing her sing or going to recording sessions. If pressed really hard to find something I didn’t like about Beverly. and fun.18 The next night. I went to the bathroom door. and so we walked back to the apartment. She was bright. no showers. sang like an angel. Beverly said she wanted to leave and so we did. I loved it and I was crazy about her. it would be that she did tend to drink a bit too much. Beverly was excited about it and we went out for dinner and then to our front-row seats in the theater. in the bathroom. much more. Steve Allen who was the late night show man---forget Paar. and nothing of Milton. One day I read a great review of the opening of "The Boyfriend" off Broadway. was sensitive and very perceptive. witty. no sinks. it occurred to me it was quiet." The days and the nights were great. About half way through the show. and had a keen sense of humor. Leno---he started it and was a great talent. as my mind started . By now it was about 10 o'clock and Beverly went into the bathroom and I went to the bedroom to get undressed. she was everything I thought she would be and much. but she always seemed to have it under control and in her business there were always people buying her drinks. He heard Beverly sing and instantly booked her to do his show. Next. Beverly and I were a happy couple and needed no one else to distract us from each other. and she was about to record another album. She seemed a bit distant. and said she just was not in the mood for it. I called to Beverly and there was no reply. Still no answer. Beverly's career seemed to be booming. Carson. I hardly got any sleep. No toilets flushed. too quiet. I called again louder thinking she might have fallen asleep. The review was such a rave that I dashed over to the theater and got us seats for that Saturday. After about 15 minutes. it was very still inside. who was not a big fan of hers. was great looking. no sound. I saw little of Anatole. easy going. "Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys.
" I breathed a huge sigh of relief. She finally blinked her eyes. unconscious. three I could deal with. “I took the whole bottle. with Beverly drifting in and out of consciousness. her condition seemed to me more like a whole bottle. As I pushed inside. scary. I could not get her awake. next to her. it became clear that I'd rather deal with the bureaucracy than risk losing Beverly. put both of us under the icy cold water. I got us out of the shower. But then she turned to me and said. so I turned on the shower. Having taken a sleeping pill or two myself. The police and EMT's were there in a matter of minutes. I saw Beverly sprawled on the floor. but they were also very understanding. I was petrified and had to find out how many of the pills she had taken to determine what to do next. None. I didn't want her held in Bellevue for an attempted suicide. My oId first-aid training came to the fore as I checked for a pulse and to make sure she had unobstructed breathing. I kicked in the locked bathroom door. but she was far from alert. but there was no way I was going to lose her. I asked her. they were as puzzled as I. As I stood. She had both and she also had an empty sleeping pill bottle. and holding her upright in my arms. Cold. I put her in bed and she fell asleep at once. they would come back at once and pump her stomach and she would be kept at Bellevue for further observation. but if she fell asleep. the whole bottle needed professional help. "How many pills did you take?" She said.” I didn’t know which one to believe. purple-lipped and nearly frozen.19 racing with scary thoughts. After what seemed like an eternity I thought she was passed the danger point and so we left the shower. They said as long as I could keep her awake for a few hours. using only the cold water. teeth-chattering. I . Seconal. "I only took three and flushed the rest down the toilet. I can't say enough for the quick response we got. it should be all right. I thanked them and then got Beverly and took her ( and me) back into the shower. On the other hand. put her on the bed and dialed 911. It was miserable. After they took a look at Beverly. I picked her up and tried to get her awake.
The next six months flew by. At about 8 a. and that was the end of it. Things always seem more threatening in the dark. Anatole was now going out with Millie and had forbidden her to see Beverly who. carefree. he thought. So. But the hard-core jazz aficionados were still buying her records and going to the jazz clubs.m. the girls were out the window and on their way down the fire escape. happy girl. In the middle of dinner the doorbell rang. There was a grace and aura about Beverly that's hard to capture. Beverly made more records. was a bad influence on Millie. The next thing I knew. The sun started to rise and I started to feel better. seemed now a lot closer than I ever suspected possible. I shook her awake. Since I had no better insight I accepted her answer. she was very sensitive and perceptive. She felt terrible. But with a characteristic mood swing. she was back to all gaiety and light the next day. I watched every breath she took. Beverly was about to cut a new album. but she was alive! As she recovered. I remember one night Beverly had Millie Perkins over to dinner. It was Anatole downstairs. the rise and fall of her chest. A couple of funny things come to mind.20 stayed up and watched her like a hawk. I won't even try to explain . this gay. He was in the neighborhood and was dropping in to shoot the breeze with me. I sat there for four hours watching every move. what a stupid thing to do. I ask you is that any way for New York's leading model and famous jazz singer to act? They were laughing so hard I was sure Anatole would hear them. and of course she would never do it again. It was not the best time for jazz singers as rock and roll was reaching a peak. Our relationship picked up where it had left off. did more club dates and was asked to Chicago to do a centerfold for Playboy Magazine. She said she couldn't imagine what possessed her to take the pills. I tried to find out from her why she did it. looking for any abnormalities. who had seemed light years away from Barbara. but her personae went 'way beyond that.
that she had gone to the market to get some food for supper. As I surveyed all the aisles it became clear to me she was not in the market. Only one thing was missing---Beverly. and she was feeling relaxed and ready. One of the musicians said this was not uncommon. and another. for that matter. which happened about once a year. Jonas who specialized in solving this problem. So I went into the parking garage to do some work on the Healey. certainly not 35 years later. She certainly was never dull or boring. she had probably gone to . Just as these thoughts were coming forward in my mind and seemed to make sense. a diversion happened. I had work to do and couldn't go with her. She grabbed a cab to the recording studio.m. deciding to sneak up from behind her in the aisle of the supermarket and give her a huge hug. everything in its proper place. Much to my disappointment. or at the time. I walked the block from our apartment to the store. What did I do to deserve a clean apartment and dinner to boot? I figured the least I could do was to go to the store and help her carry back the groceries. the apartment looked great. "Like Yesterday" in which she was recording songs made famous by other female vocalists. She always liked to be relaxed for these sessions so I opened a bottle of Champagne with dinner. We finished it. It occurred to me that since she was in her domestic mode. No note. but always challenging one way or another.21 it because I know I can't. The next day she went to see him and after a few days.. she was able to finish the record. She called in the middle of the session to say that as they started to record the fourth cut. and there was a psychiatrist named Dr. With that problem out of the way. No matter. One Saturday morning. she opened her mouth to sing and she could make no sound. I got home about 4 p. It seemed that perhaps I had found the girl to marry. They had to cancel the rest of the session. things settled down. no nothing. She was going to a recording session for her latest record. It was a night session for her album called. Beverly said she was going to do a major cleaning on the apartment and I would be in the way.
Was she kidnapped? Was she running away from me for some unknown reason? It seemed unlikely. or maybe I did but didn't want to do it. looked everywhere. no matter how far from the apartment. I just did not know what to do next. she wasn't there and had not been there. At least calling the hospitals was something to do. I called Bellevue next and asked if a Beverly Kenney had been admitted. Since St. I decided to call every hospital in the City.m. so her departure must have been recent.m. She could have left anytime after 10. no no Beverly. I'd been gone since 10 a. I then realized it must have taken most of the day for her to get the apartment so clean. I went the half block to our liquor merchant. I started to get a slight uneasy feeling. I asked why she was . Hours of literally running around Greenwich Village and calling on all our friends to no avail. I left the apartment. they had not heard from her.m. I started to call the hospitals. got home at 4 p." Bells went off. With a quickened pace I returned to the apartment.22 the liquor store. that was her middle name.. The only admission was an Anne Kenney. I called the other two hospitals closest to our apartment only to get the same news. but St. and I started to be concerned. I said I was Doctor Weseley (a friend of mine and a real doctor). This was not like her and I was petrified that something terrible had happened to her. I was really upset. I was petrified that she'd been hit by a car on the way to the market. "No. called Millie. no Beverly. I thought we were very happy. Vincent's had no one admitted by the name of Beverly Kenney. Vincent's was only a few blocks away. They again replied. but thought I might have missed her in the supermarket. I called her parents in New Jersey thinking she might have gone over for a quick visit. I called there first. By now panic had set in and I really didn't know what to do next. No. checked all the bars where we would go. By now it was near 6 p. No.
" She said they were locked up. security was loose. I told her to please get them. The nurse opened the door for me and I said. and took a couple of sleeping pills I had locked away and went to bed. I pulled myself together. Since it was a Sunday. I walked to the hallway where Beverly's gurney was stacked next to a wall. I put on my trench coat and headed for Bellevue. I was up early the next morning and as I headed for Bellevue hoped they would not discover I was not a doctor. etc. Not having a clue what I was doing. This marvelous person did not belong here.23 admitted and all they would tell me over the phone was that she was in the psychiatric ward. It was shattering to see her there. I was desolate. and since I'd read the nurse's nameplate on Saturday night. The ward was so crowded all the beds were filled and other patients were sleeping on gurneys in the aisles. I'm sure there were dire consequences if they did. I parlayed that into my being there. "Let me see her chart. this squalor. She led me to the door and locked it behind me. I told the nurse I wanted to see her. cold and rainy. The nurse led me to a gurney and there pale and looking vulnerable lay Beverly absolutely still in her drugged sleep. My heart broke to see her in this place. She did and she handed me a chart with a big red suicidal stamped on it. A nurse came to the door and I told her I was Doctor Weseley and I wanted to see my patient Anne Kenney who had been admitted today. went home. but I had no choice. I went up to the third floor psychiatric ward and knocked on the locked door. . I had to see her and no civilian visitors were allowed. I said I'd be back in the morning. It was now nearly midnight. There were more details of time of admittance and the sedative they'd given her. "Let me see the rest of the charts. The nurse made it clear. I thanked them and said I'd be right over. I said. no one could get her released that night." She brought me a chart that said she had turned herself in saying she felt she was going to do something self-destructive.
I'll treat you real nice. The carefree girl on the beach in East Hampton had changed to . waited till she was released and brought her home. come on. this is what Dr." etc. etc. "Get me out of here these people are crazy. I went back and told Beverly who seemed in good spirits about what we were going to do. She beckoned to me and whispered in my ear. I left there shaken. a gynecologist. but reminded me of Beverly's sessions with Dr. Once again things fell into their routine. I asked the nurse for a phone. I was accosted by a number of patients as I was leaving with shouts of "Doc. But then. get me out of here. and maybe he was the man to call.24 Our eyes met. to ask for advice. It was clear there was no way around it. but that was not important now. happy. She looked better already and was her same old entrancing self. the real Doctor Wesley. He said there was nothing to be done. but at least she was alive and would be back with me tomorrow. It was like two completely different people.. But this behavior was beginning to take its toll on me. Besides there was no other way. I called my friend. it's a mistake. Jonas was going to do. I went to the hospital the next day. carefree. Gay. but she assured me she could handle one more night. I neglected to tell him I had used his name. again. No matter how hard I tired I seemed unable to get to the core of this behavior. and only saying she didn't know why she turned herself in. give me a shot. The nurse informed me she could only be released if a psychiatrist signed her out saying he was going to treat her privately. Jonas." I said I'd see what I could do. I did and he said he would sign her out the next day. and since I pushed my “Doctor” bit as far as I dared." to "Doc. She told me a few stories about her crazy friends and they were truly scary.
25 a different person. but he was away. At least with Barbara. something that had started out so great and had the potential to go all the way (or so I thought) was starting to follow the same pattern of all my romances. or what was it? . One weekend I went down to Deal as Beverly was away on a job. Beverly had a number of bookings out of town in the next few months. As I was going over to my friend Sam's to see if I could spend the night. Open and gave me an off-hand invitation to join her when she learned of my keyless plight. not me. I was dispirited that. it was still a mystery. Rochester. and I could feel us drifting apart. So. Chicago. it was up to Dr. Then again. Buffalo. I ran into Joanna. Joanna and I watched the Open and then it was dinnertime. When I got back to the Village. Jonas three times a week. more like Barbara than not. Joanna was not one of the warmest people you would ever meet and was also standoffish. I had lost a lot of my enthusiasm for our relationship as it became more scary and less comfortable. Why was it me who always became disillusioned? Why was it never the woman? Was there something wrong with me? Was I unable to last more than a few years in a relationship. but I didn't discern any progress. I discovered I'd left my keys at the Shore. Jonas to make those judgements.S. with Beverly. I knew what set her off and how to control it. she always seemed to be on guard. She was going to her apartment to watch the U. once again. We got to her apartment and I called Sam. Joanna offered a potluck dinner and then it was bedtime. Anatole's young Swede whom I'd met in East Hampton. My head at this time was more concerned with my disillusionment with my relationship with Beverly than it was with starting any new relationship. Beverly was seeing Dr.
So. I was miserable and decided to go see Dr. she found an apartment in a women's residence on 12th Street and moved out. Beverly came back to town. and finally we decided we would be better off apart. I did not leave my couch all night nor did I have any visitors and that was just fine.26 Joanna interrupted my reverie to ask if I wanted to sleep on her couch as none of my other friends could be located. In fact. at least for the time being. "Yes. She was back-lit by the sun and I could see her young. the sun was shining through her window." and told me where to find the instant. made the coffee and toast and brought it into her bedroom. just once. got into a neighbor's apartment. After the session he took . We spent the day hanging around the Village and about dinnertime I headed to my apartment. She gave me a pillow and some sheets. I wondered why couldn't I. After a few months. We were still friends and I kept paying for Dr. firm. I gratefully accepted. gauzy. I boiled some water. baby-doll nightie. but things did not get any better. It was a cool September Sunday. Jonas and her therapy three times a week. Jonas myself. be the one who was hurt? I felt better able to deal with it than the women I hurt. She said. he put me in a group session. to see if he could help me find the reason why I was always the one to end the relationships and why I felt so badly (guilty) about it. Swedish breasts through the baby-doll quite clearly. we just kept drifting farther apart. and was able to reach the fire escape next to my window and get into my apartment. She was sitting on her bed wearing a white. There was something very erotic about it and I momentarily forgot my despair and gave into my voyeurism. told me goodnight and went into her bedroom. There was a lot of tension in our relationship. I got up in the morning and knocked on Joanna's door and asked if she wanted some coffee.
It seemed to lift her spirits momentarily and to see her smile was worth more than I could ever have saved. he went on to say that I had defenses in place that worked for me and that I might as well get on with my life. I saw a few different girls. said that I had dominated and controlled the group and that group therapy was not for me. No spark. but it would do. The week before Christmas. I agreed and so I became an ex-patient while Beverly continued. Her apartment was dreary. Jonas. had a drink. but my heart wasn't in it. Jonas and thanked me for continuing to pay the bills. Fall had turned to winter and Christmas was approaching but my bleak mood and concern for Beverly dominated my life. We met at Julius'. always afraid she would do something self-destructive. knowing she could barely pay her rent. more depressed than ever. I was glad for her and hoped it would work out. Life went on. It was a lonesome time for me and I was constantly worried about Beverly. she was still seeing Dr. and gave her a couple of hundred bucks I'd managed to save. Things were tough in the jazz business and. and talked. "I'll die if I don't have her." I just didn't feel that way. yes.27 me aside. I called Beverly and asked her to meet me for a drink. I walked her to her apartment. no. I kept in touch and kept paying Dr. I was still working at Bambergers' in . Beverly called one day to say she was going out with a new guy and while I had a quick pang of jealousy. then walked home. As a matter of fact. It was all incredibly depressing. Winter passed and Spring arrived. I told her I knew how much it meant for her to buy Christmas presents for her family. He did not think it wise to try and strip my defenses and start allover again.
I told him I was not up to it at the moment. came into my office and looked like he'd just seen a ghost. Zen. As we walked into the lobby of my apartment. "What do you mean?" He said that he heard on the radio that she'd killed herself. I . little to be done. My heart stood still. There was one skinny invitation-size envelope inside. Could it all be a mistake. my best friend at work. heartsick.28 Newark as the men's sportswear buyer. I thanked Zen. There it was on the front page. He said. who then left and the phone started ringing. scared. against what I knew was true. About 2:30 one April afternoon. Thanks for everything. Beverly's new boyfriend called and wanted to talk. I really did. I was numb. hoping against hope. I instantly recognized the handwriting. dated the night before. She had taken an overdose of sleeping pills and was dead. Inside was a note that said. saying I had done all that was possible. "What did Beverly do?" I said. Zen got me in his car and drove me back to may apartment in the Village. and I still did not believe it was true. I zombielike walked in and opened my mailbox.) He said he was sure and so I raced down to the street and picked up the late edition of the Newark News. Please see that I'm cremated. There was little to be said. I really did love you." Dear Sven. but the impact had not hit me. (At that time a young Beverly Aadland was accusing Erroll Flynn of rape. Love and Goodbye. the note did it. out of sheer habit. First it was Beverly's sister. disoriented. BK" If it was possible to be more miserable than I already was. I said you must have heard it wrong. Other friends called all in shock. and I was sure that was what Zen had heard. I walked into the apartment where we had spent so much glorious time. against logic. I opened the envelope. nothing was your fault.
And made me even more depressed. was paralyzed with grief. He said we should go out to dinner and though I didn't feel like eating. the memories. he insisted I get out of the hotel room. the alternative was to commit her for treatment. Jean was going to drop me off at my hotel. we were then joined by Walter's girlfriend and a friend of her's she'd brought along to cheer me up. who am usually at my best in a crisis. At the restaurant. The next thing I remember was Walter at the gate in L. of all places.A. the apartment. I didn't much like the surprise. We shared a double room because he didn't want me to be alone. I.29 called Dr. but since they were trying to help. so I dashed to the airport and just caught the plane as they were about to close the door.A. Beverly Hills. After dinner Walter and his girlfriend went on to another engagement. The thing I feared most had happened and I was not coping very well. not very good for trying to forget Beverly for even a moment. The apartment and the memories were starting to get to me. I made the best of it. I guess I needed someone to tell me what to do. airport. He had a first-class ticket waiting for me at the airport on the American flight that left in about an hour. Just about that time the phone rang and it was my friend Walter calling from Los Angeles. It was an unacceptable answer and sounded like a cop out to me. Jonas and asked him how could this happen. He said Beverly needed psychiatric care seven days a week and since she could only afford three days. He had heard the news and told me I needed to get away from the Village. He said to get on the plane and he would pick me up at the L. The hotel was the Beverly Wilshire. She asked me on the way if I wanted to stop at her apartment for a nightcap and I said yes. not . He drove me to our hotel in.
in retrospect. a truly enchanting person. a lot of support. I look at her picture on the CD covers. and was very good at drawing me out. Beverly was one of a kind. it came out that she had lived in the Village. and I must admit. I thanked her for getting me through the worst night of my life and got a cab back to the Beverly Wilshire. We talked till the sun started to rise over the mountains. was a great comfort. We got to her place around 11 p. I would come out stronger. many. It seems to me now. [another of the 22 Girls ] Joanna (the hard-hearted Hannah). and she brought me a drink. put on the stereo and once again hear her sweet. and I choose that word carefully. innocent voice. if I survived it. Now. . from of all people. it made no difference. It was a matter of time. knew of Beverly. we had breakfast on our lanai and talked. And try to think only of the good times.m. As we talked.30 wanting to be alone. It wasn't easy. My worst fear had happened and it would either destroy me or. able to face anything. The next few days were a blur of misery. I woke Walter. No matter what anybody said or did. that it was a turning point in my life. many years later. I was inconsolable.
I once asked Mort if all this talk about the singer didn’t rankle his wife. he replied. he once told me. like actress Perkins. his affair with Beverly. She was always up. a delight. feels that their friend. but when he eventually married he got rid of all things released to his years with Kenney except. was winning a Florida State doubles tennis championship in 1991 with his brother Danny after they had not played together for fifty years. Specifically.31 MORT! By Bill Reed Mort Lowenstein and I have since become good phone friends who talk about a myriad of subjects and still. he said. In my initial call to him after reading the memoir.” He once had copies. “She once gave me a sterling silver disc with the following printed on it: ‘All the reasons why I like (or love you) . they were never published because they simply did not turn out so well. he wasn’t sure it was that simple. could it have been undiagnosed manic depression? No. Mort said. But his proudest achievement. “Whatever makes me happy makes her happy.” It is also worth noting that he too. But some form of depression clearly played a part. In them. I asked if he might be able to expand upon what might have caused Beverly to take her life. he wrote to me. As for the Playboy photos taken of Beverly. did night go gently into that gentle good night still carrying a torch for Milton Klonsky. Beverly looked “nervous. Mort is now happily retired and living with his wife on a beautiful plot of land on the eastern coast of Florida where he continues to windsurf with his grandchildren and remain active in coastal preservation and animal rescue. from time to time. he a felt. contrary to Jonathan Schwartz’s belief.
32 You are fun. You’re mushy You taste good. calm and manly-neither a snob or Intimidated by snobs-you like me-you smell good and sweet and clean. You have tact. quietly intelligent. patient.’ On the reverse side was the following: ‘All the reasons why I hate you. I still have and cherish it.” ________ .s Christmas 1955 BK’ Obviously. You never buy me flowers-you snore loudly-you are not even half rich-you Have not mentioned marriage since I said yes-your apartment is too smallYou don’t sleep in P.J.
1956) with the Ralph Burns Orch. Trolley Song. Mairzy Doats My Kind Of Love. Any Old Time. Where Can I Go Without You Like Yesterday (Decca. Moe's Blues. A Fine Romance. Old Buttermilk Sky. Tis' Autumn. A Sunday Kind Of Love. The More I See You. I Walk a Little Faster. You Go to My Head. Isn't This A Lovely Day. Tampico POSTHUMOUS COMMERCIAL RELEASES Snuggled on Your Shoulder (SSJ Records . Who Cares What People Say. I Had The Craziest Dream. 1958) with Ellis Larkins. More Than You Know. 2006. piano. This Little Town in Paris. The Dipsy Doodle. Vanity. 1956) with the Johnny Smith Quartet The Surrey With the Fringe on Top. Ball and Chain (Sweet Lorraine). I'll Know My Love (Greensleeves). Swinging on a Star. Happiness Is A Thing Called Jo. Try a Little Tenderness. It Ain't Necessarily So. Isn't it a Pity. Gay Chicks (dance education recording) (This recording was also issued on vinyl by SSJ minus the final track) . 1957) Nobody Else But Me. It's Magic. Can't Get out of This Mood. A Woman's Intuition. A Summer Romance. A Foggy Day. Life Can Be Beautiful. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place. You're My Boy. Makin' Whoopee. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. It's a Blue World. Can't Get Out Of this Mood Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys (Decca. Violets For My Furs. You Make Me Feel So Young Beverly Kenney Sings with Jimmy Jones & the Basie-ites (Roost. Somewhere Along the Way. Joe Benjamin. This Can't Be Love. Moe's Blues. There Will Never Be Another You. For All We Know. If I Were a Bell. comprised of 1954 demo recordings) Tea for Two. Why Try to Chance Me Now. Almost Like Being in Love. Snuggled on Your Shoulder. And The Angels Sing. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry.Japan. Looking for a Boy. There Will Never Be Another You. The Charm Of You. 1959) Born to Be Blue. The Things We Did Last Summer. Scarlet Ribbons. A-You're Adorable. Stairway to the Stars. What A Diff'rence A Day Made. Again. Give Me the Simple Life. Ball and Chain. Snuggled on Your Shoulder Come Swing with Me (Roost. Sentimental Journey. 1960) Undecided. I Never Has Seen Snow. Mama Do I Gotta?. What Is There To Say.33 DISCOGRAPHY Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith (Roost. Go Away My Love. A Lover Like You. Beyond the Next Hill. That's All. It Only Happens When I Dance with You. It's A Most Unusual Day Born to be Blue (Decca. Destination Moon. bass Do It Again.
34 Lonely and Blue (SSJ Records . Sing a Rainbow. by Eddie Safranski) Lonely And Blue. 2009. 11) What Is There to Say?. The Stars. That Pyramid Jazz. Interview SINGLES For the Decca label. I'm Ready for the Show. The Moon. 7-10. Kenney cut six additional tracks which have appeared as bonus tracks for LPs and CD* or for release only as singles (final two). Your Love is My Love . The Night. The Magic Touch. of a song co-written by BK. Time Was/It’s So Peaceful in the Country.Japan. It's A Mean Old World. contemporary rec. Swing and Sway. What’s I Like in Paris. The More I See You. The songs are: Brooklyn Love Song. Taking a Chance on Love.) What is There to Say? (SSJ Records . Charleston Fling. dance education recordings.Japan 2007. Lean And Lanky (This recording was also issued on vinyl by SSJ. 1-6. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. Long. I Don't Believe in Love. Makin' Whoopee. Let's Try It Again. Too Late To Be Sorry. I Hate Rock and Roll. Tappin' Out a Merry Beat. Too Bad. comprised of circa mid-1950s radio transcriptions arr. 12. Yours Sincerely. comprised of broadcast airchecks. Tall. Dark and Handsome.
pg. "Mountain Greenery" and "Can't Get Out of This Mood. CHICAGO REVIEWS "Caught in the Act" from Downbeat." In the other two numbers of her brief set under review. sustained pulsation. 1955 (writer unknown): Beverly Kenney. sounds like a great jazz vocal find. Backed by the Johnny Smith quartet in her Basin Street debut. She probably would have sounded even better with a more rhythmically stimulating . as fresh in sound as she is in presence. horn-like phrasing that flows with fine. Beverly's witty and soundly musical imagination turns even "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" into a lightly wailing jazz vehicle. 3. Beverly confirmed the impact she made several weeks previously at a Carnegie Hall concert. The girl. December 28. That her feeling for long flowing instrumentalized lines is equally effective in lyrical ballads is evident in her tender treatment of "Tis Autumn." Beverly continued to be relaxed. inventive and individualized.35 MISTER KELLY’S. 23. sings with continually imaginative.
in recent years.February 22. 23. DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME. and even--I regret to say--the Sarah of recent months--have sounded muchof the time like . It’s been fun from time to time. but almost limitless musical possibilities. Contrasted with other relative newcomers. and she is looser and swings more easily than the current and overly careful. listening to this performance of Teddi King. Teddi King.36 background than the Johnny Smith quartet provided. although the latter's longer experience enables her to project more powerfully than Beverly yet does. Carmen and Jeri. a New Jersey-ite of very little professional experience. From Downbeat. Beverly is beginning to arrive and she is displaying the kind of ability and potential that should enable her to stay a long time. Beverly is more flexible though not yet as emotionally gripping as Helen Merrill. Beverly's musicianship and care for lyrics is superior to Chris Connor's and she can stand partial favorable comparison with Carmen McRae. DO UNDERSTAND ME: I do deny that the aforementioned worthers--Teddi. girl singers of a kind of jazz quality. by Barry Ulanov. The girl to whom it belongs is Beverly Kenney. and others of that neat and nimble art. a new voice of unmistakable jazz quality has appeared to take its place beside those of Sarah Vaughan. 1956: It looks as if finally. pg. I don’t deny a four bar moment that there have been girl singers between Sarah’s arrival on the scene and the present. Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. 12.and that of Carmen McRae. girl singers of quality. hearing Jeri Southern now and then.
Ella Fitzgerald has it too. tired as she must be much of the time. Have I made my point? I've been trying to raise a cheer or two for Beverly Kenney. One explanation is the material performed by these estimable women. too much of the time. and worn by every sort of misery. or at least Carmen. A beat? I guess so. he's addicted --it's what keeps him within a half-chorus or so of jazz. no matter how slow the tempo or sobbing the mood of the song she's singing. just walking across a television stage or tapping time in what passes for a beat in the backing of one of those dog tunes to which. Billie Holiday.37 bona fide jazz singers. pulsating pound of her. I'm sorry I had to make my cheering voice heard at the expense of some fine singers who just haven't made the jazz grade. For all the considerable skill of these well endowed singers. that buoyancy. identify which is two parts youth and one part high spirits -. Jazz influences? Sure. anyhow.or maybe it's the other way around. still has it. the latter day Sarah) seem to lack that curious texture. Frank Sinatra has it too. They have not maintained a consistent jazz quality. however. Old Jimmy Rushing has had it ever since he cracked his voice on a nursery rhyme. one never does when box office supplants beat and jukebox supercedes jazz as desiderata. they (including unfortunately. Out and out jazz singing? Rarely. at least according to my taste. and that odd twist of phrase. that naivete. every powerful. Another explanation is natural equipment. They have tried too hard for that hit record. Jeri and Sarah. those spirits. but not everything. that even turn of stone that in combination. a gifted singer with good taste in the choice of songs she sings and a plethora of natural equipment with which to sing them and every sort of naïve enthusiasm. they have even succeeded. But the drought has . between heavy dramatic roles. Perry Como has it. Age has something to do with it anyway.
in future years. "White Christmas" or "Sweet Leilani" or .they come from jazz singers -.and another example as well. Both Beverly in her first record (which should be around by the time you read this) and Joe are straightforward jazz singers. There's fun in a charming novelty and tender delight in a sweet balladeer. not his middle or his late: it will be those wild scanty sessions with the Rhythm Boys and the uninhibited fillins with the Mills Brothers.38 been such a long time with us that it is impossible to forget the whys and the wherefores as one turns eagerly to welcome the waters bringing relief to the dry land. who in the last year or so. But the big kicks. even he. that of the other singer. Jazz remains a most wonderfully. Even Bing. such exuberance. and there's no hiding the fact. such instrumental precision. and never more direct or to the point than when sung. too. make clear that his is a substantial contribution to American singing. It's that. which is not hidden. It's in my argument and Beverly's example -. the gulps and gobbles that first established him which will.strictly jazz singers. of course. There's a kind of moral hidden in the argument. not. that makes the hidden moral. But Beverly too is a jazzman. will rank as a singer for his early years. I think. the ones that add up to chapters in history books. has been re-establishing a place for the larynx and the pharynx for jazz: Joe Williams. the improvised measures with Eddie Lang. straightforward music. I'm certain. I'm convinced. It's more obvious in Joe's case because of the material he sings --blues mostly --as is fitting for anyone with such a voice. and a place in the American Parthenon -. such wit.
Repertoire shows care in selectivity and delivery. June 1956 (author unknown): Beverly Kenney is an off shoot of the mellow modem vocal stylings pioneered by June Christy and Chris Connor. But it will come. husky-voiced new arrival in jazz. She's no carbon-copy however. much influenced by Billie Holiday. NJ. Without it. From Variety." Miss Kenney is now etching for the indie Roost label and has the makings of a good album seller. and gets a distinction all her own with a sunny and refreshing piping approach. although I hope she is. but she's got a strong hold when she peppers up on "Surrey with the Fringe on the Top. 1932: An able. New Acts. . she's a top bet for jazzrooms. where the crowds will go for her looks as well as her vocals. born Harrison. pg. Only in the slow mood does she seem to lose command of the crowd. It? A large scale revival of jazz singing to go along with the success of the small jazz group of the last few years. 1957: Beverly Kenney. Entry from Handbook of Jazz by Barry Ulanov (publisher unknown). 54. because I enjoy her singing so much. although he has made great 13 bar strides towards it already." and "Almost Like Being in Love.39 any of the latter sweet meats." "Mountain Greenery. Beverly may not be the one to do it. On the in-person level. Joe may not be able to do it. this is just a little flurry and not the great jazz blizzard we've been assured so often of late we're enjoying. The jazz touches are well-planned and she gives the standards in the songbag a fresh meaning with her oftbeat phrasing.
40 Variety. singer. April 20. (Thanks to Frederick Stack of Boston. (obituary): Wednesday. MA for unearthing these reviews and profiles of Kenney) ___________________________ . 26. died in New York. 1960: Beverly Kenney.
He is a producer of jazz releases for SSJ Records (Japan). and is also the co-author of Rock on Film (Putnam's). the arts and popular culture have appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone. A revised edition of his book. and International Documentary.” He wrote for the hit TV series One Day at a Time.41 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bill Reed's writings on show business. His new collection of writings about jazz singing is available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18644342/A-Fine-Romance-My-Lifelong-Affair-WithJazz-Singing-and-Singers . the San Francisco Examiner. 1890-1960. was published by McFarland Press in 2009. Hot From Harlem: Twelve AfricanAmerican Artists.
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