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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.
It now seems to them that maybe it is better to keep silent again. Her type of music was going out of style. but she was more or . 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. The pair of surviving brothers were too young to remember much of anything about their oldest sister. but they too are all fairly close-mouthed.” according to my correspondent. The letter closed with the following bits of general Beverly Kenney biography: She was born and raised in Harrison. NJ. And even long after the matriarch’s death. had lots of memories of Kenney letting her stay the night in New York with her and taking her places. and my writer`s life as well). On the one occasion that family members were convinced to open up about Beverly (to dee-jay Jonathan Schwartz) they ended up feeling “betrayed.5 Specifically. who added that the piece was said to contain “both factual inaccuracies and hurtful insinuations. Such reticence does not seem to extend to this Kenney family member who wrote me. I am told by my correspondent. Her parents divorced. The writer also tells me that because of the age gap between Beverly and her younger sister Charlene. exposing her to all kinds of music (which ended up being one of the loves of Charlene`s. Charlene had always thought. now deceased. Three sisters remain. Beverly was like a second mother to her. Charlene.” 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. this silence continues. she forbid any other family members to talk about her daughter. that the probable “situatonal trigger” was that her career wasn't going very well because of the oncoming tsunami of rock and roll. while Kenney’s mother was still alive.
Beverly`s two youngest brothers are from her mother`s second marriage.” Milton Klonsky is described by Jonathan Schwartz in his GQ Magazine Kenney profile. the family had problems. Eventually. when I eventually spoke with him on the phone. the chapter title is not Mort’s. He too was responding to my aforementioned Kenney blog entry. Upon reading it Norman Mailer said. Nobody is a half sibling. In his e-mail he explained to me that he had had a twoyear-long affair with Beverly at the end of her life.” ________ But it was an email that I received a few years earlier in early 2005 that was the real eye opener. 22 Girls. was a great American intellectual. but if I recall correctly Jonathan Schwartz painted a bad picture of our family. essayist and book reviewer. revered by an impressively diversified group of men and women.” .” as “A man of immense intelligence. an almost holy figure in the Greenwich Village of the 1950s. Girl Singer. If fact. “This guy is the best new young writer in the country. he sent me the following chapter about Kenney that was part of an unpublished book he wrote. that was the only thing that was fictional about his memoir. It came from a fellow by the name of Mort Lowenstein.6 less grown by then. It should also be noted that while Mort calls himself "Sven” in the chapter. including Intoxicated by My Illness and Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir. Dramatis Personae of The Last Days of Beverly Kenney include: Anatole Broyard. What the Cystoscope Said. Klonsky threw daring new conversational light on that which was already illumined. Mort’s good friend in the memoir. he was at pains to assure me. “but we don't think of it that way in our family. One of the first pieces Broyard published was about his father dying of cancer. Before his death on October 1990. For the record. Yes. he also wrote several memorable non-fiction books. All of the siblings are very close. and Beverly was very much loved. Everyone is the same.
She continues to appear regularly both in films and on TV. more successful than Seberg's.7 Millie Perkins: In 1959 she won what was called "the most coveted screen role since Scarlet O'Hara. fortunately for her." that of Anne Frank---without even seeking it.000 aspirants. Mort’s memoir of Beverly was translated into Japanese and included in the release of SSJ Records’ CD. In the Fall of 2009. She was chosen from among 10. Joan. She had never acted before in her life when she was plucked from junior model obscurity by director George Stevens. This is the memoir’s first appearance in English. . no other young novice actress has ever had to carry such a heavy weight. With the possible exception of Jean Seberg in Preminger's St. volume 3 (all three of which I had a hand in producing). Perkins' initial outing was. Unreleased Beverly Kenney.
because not only would I get to see Beverly sing. a spot picked her up. the top down. as you have already read. He asked me if I wanted to go up and see Beverly who was singing in a club in Connecticut that weekend. and she was now set up with a new apartment and new boyfriend. and so now it became clear why Milton was my new friend. I was curious to see if Beverly would be as good in person as she was on records. gay. It mattered but little to me that my role was that of chauffeur. the trees were a symphony of changing colors. I could not believe how . As the show progressed. The lights dimmed. it was crystal clear that Barbara's emotional blackmail was wearing our relationship thin. Milton and I were seated at a table next to the stage. but she would be squeezed between me and Milton in the Healey on the trip to Connecticut. Now. and while we were cramped together heading north. and awaited the show. I said that would be great. Then one night. We arrived and parked.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. all seemed right with the world. while Milton [Klonsky] and Anatole [Broyard] were best friends. I was surprised to get his call. and I was stunned. the moon was full and rising. I got a call out of the blue from Milton. carefree. I was not madly in love with anyone at the moment and that always depressed me. and that’s when he told me that Beverly and he needed a ride. ordered a drink. stretched our limbs and went into the club. As Beverly went to her dressing room. 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. (Cheap thrill. the air warm. Milton and I really only saw each other if we were with Anatole. Barbara and I had broken up. She looked fabulous and sounded even better. huh?) As we headed up the Merritt Parkway. she started singing. Well.
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. I had no great romance. not Milton. we headed back to the Village. I had a date with Carol Werner. could not help but feel elated that: 1. hand in hand. I was sound asleep at 1:30 on a Saturday morning when my phone rang. I'm afraid I was not a great date that night because I could not take my eyes off Beverly. sang a number of songs in our direction. and angrily answered. So much for my Sir Galahad opportunity. Things continued to slide along. She was having a fight with Milton and 2. She was as great as ever. I dropped Carol home. so we decided to drive over and hear Beverly. As I was about to dash out the door. I raced the Healey one or two weekends. Coming awake. 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. I grabbed the phone. After that weekend. I spent Sunday with the the guys in Washington Square Park. and went back to my apartment. It would have felt greater if it had been me they were envying. The show was great. "Yeah. She told me when Carol was in the ladies' room that she finished her gig here the next day." To my complete astonishment. and said good-bye as I dropped Milton and Beverly at Milton's apartment and watched them go in. catch the show. I said maybe I'd drop back. things were slow. and came over and chatted with us at intermission.9 sensational I thought she was. and one day I heard that Beverly was appearing in a club in New Jersey. It really felt great. the phone rang again. 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. I was the one she called to come to come rescue her. and while I was dressing. During the intermission. an old summer fling who loved music. and give her a ride back to the Village if she wanted. she came over and sat down with Milton and me and every guy in the place was glancing at us in envy. had dinner with . I heard Beverly's voice on the other end.
) I worked out my plan on the drive over. It was. and though I would not do anything overt (it was not cool). About 11:30 the phone rang waking me up. I said in my most casual. but then it would be just the two of us on the trip back to the Village. Milton and I were not really buddies. if she were to initiate something. "Would you like to stop by for a nightcap and wind down?" She said that sounded fine and my spirits leapt to the moon. so it was a little white lie. You'd have a drink." I said I was just leaving as she called and would be there in a half hour. dance to Sinatra. She said. When we got back to the Village I would ask her if she cared for a nightcap. she didn't seem as if she cared when I had mentioned it a few days ago. As I started to boil the water. While she went to use the bathroom. "I thought you were coming to catch the show and drive me home.) Anyhow. . (Dream on. off-hand manner. and went home to bed. Sven. candles. by the way. She said she’d love a cup of tea. besides there was that fight she had with Milton. I would have the Sinatra records on. 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. . I could most certainly respond. an infallible scene. although she was Milton's girl. again it was Beverly. As we pulled out of the Holland Tunnel and headed up Hudson Street. She was so ambivalent. my dream started to evaporate like the steam from the tea kettle. She sat on the couch. Not only would I get to watch her sing again. and see what happened. retire to the couch. As we parked the Healey and headed up to the apartment I was both nervous and excited.) I asked her what she would like to drink-brandy. gin.10 Anatole and Albie the jewel thief at the San Remo. puffed up the couch cushions. yes. Anyhow. (O. loaded the Sinatra albums.K.. I lighted the candles. now I was all charged up as I sprinted to the garage to get the Healey. and. brandy. Now. (I cleverly had no other place you could sit---a trick I learned from Anatole. no encouragement that would . We sat and talked. offering me no clue. vodka or wine. and.
he casually mentioned that Milton and Beverly had broken up after a huge fight. loose-fitting flannel nightshirt. I've never been much of a drinker. I saw Beverly and a girlfriend Carol walking down the street. They hopped in and when we arrived. a small bathroom. These ladies could drink. seldom if ever got drunk and . I was not feeling in peak condition. "You better sleep over. Tiny. quite a letdown from the fantasies I had harbored for my first night in bed with Beverly. Beverly." and patted the bed. and so we went down. I did not get too excited. So much for Sinatra. was bent over a toilet bowl with thoughts of survival on his mind. A few nights later. another. Beverly was in her bed. Since I had been through this before. got into the Healey. covered by a baggy. I would hardly wait to catch a glimpse of Beverly's nude body under the sheets. I quickly passed out in the famous spoon position. and dreams. It was a one-room studio. after playing tennis with Anatole. She said to me. we had another drink. and had rinsed my mouth out about 100 times. We had a drink. The next thing that I could remember was that our great lover with thoughts of seduction on his mind. I wobbled out of the bathroom. and I dropped her at Milton's apartment. I guess she knew she was as "safe" as any woman could ever be. offered me a drink. Carol was in her bed asleep. I better get going. there it was. so I let it pass. I quickly stripped down to my undershorts and even in my queasy state. I eagerly accepted and walked into their tiny apartment. It was the smallest bed I'd ever seen. When morning came. knowing they would most likely get back together as they had after the night Beverly had called me. Fall was in the air. which in reality was only a few blocks away. and a hot plate. They waved and I offered them a ride to their apartment. When I was finally able to stand up. as I was driving to the garage. and one day. As I got into the bed and lifted the sheet unnecessarily high to see what I so desperately coveted. Two single beds. thanks.11 lead to me making a move. When she finished her tea. she said.
chatted. My whole family loved music. So. so we changed course. empty. My oldest brother. the three of us crammed ourselves into the Healey and headed to the Lincoln Tunnel. like Will Rogers. I jumped at the chance to spend more time with Beverly. and besides it was a sensational Indian Summer day. That of course left my mother. Before we went to the house.12 sick. had some sandwiches. and was the lead singer in our trio. As we surfaced in New Jersey. Although this would not have been my first choice of what to do. Danny. party. she kept the talons sheathed. so we took off our shoes and waded in up to our knees. and I hoped that some fresh air might make me feel a little better. My father Joe was a fantastic man in every respect. Everyone agreed. 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. So. we stopped off at the beach. the water still not cold. it was through the haze of my hangover that I heard Beverly suggest we all take a drive out to Peapack/Gladstone. Little did she realize how much I wanted Beverly. but that Milton was standing between . He was the most good-natured. and. I suggested we detour and head to my parents' house in Deal. and. so we headed the two blocks inland to go to the house and get some lunch. Alan. two years older than I. Now Danny was the one who had heard Beverly on the radio and thought she was great. Now a bit about my family only because Beverly was about to walk into the Devils' Den. dance. played both saxophone and clarinet. a quiet little town on the Jersey coast. never met a man (or woman) he didn't like. it was such a great day. He loved to sing. which was in the most beautiful part of New Jersey. Daisy. who could be the devil to any girl any of her sons dared to bring home. We were greeted by one and all. probably because Daisy did not detect a seriousness in my manner about Beverly. I knew he would love Beverly. the horse country. It was beautiful. was a fine piano player. By this time I was feeling better. (Alan and I were the doo-wops). happy person you could ever meet.
Danny and his Doo-Wops. Joe sang a few songs. she was used to singing with the best musicians in the world. so Carol had her work cut out for her. It was one of the "Ten best" weather days of the year. We sat down as the twilight faded into darkness. Before long. and finally it was Beverly's turn. the tide low with small breakers. We took a break and then Beverly said she'd like to see the moon rise over the ocean. As a slight chill started to touch the air. then the trio. Since Beverly was used to singing certain arrangements to songs.13 us. It sounded just like the record. and her album with Johnny Smith featured all Downbeat Poll jazz winners. art appreciation was not high on their list. Without a word to anyone. The beach was deserted as I spread out the blanket. dinner was served and then we gathered around the piano. and while my family was big on music. it made it even more complicated. harvest moon slowly came into view. It finally wound up with Beverly doing an a capella (as on her album) rendition of "It Ain't Necessarily So. The heavens were aglow. Now Carol was an artist of some repute. Now. Not bad. the temperature was perfect. As we laid there on the blanket watching the show. 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. Needless to say this put bit of pressure on Alan. She had done a stint with the Benny Goodman band. I gently leaned over and gave Beverly a "chaste" kiss on the lips. the darkness had taken over from twilight and a huge. As we ended our embrace and lay on our backs looking about. she responded. Much to my surprise and delight. as shooting stars crossed the incredibly clear skies. leaving Carol to fend for herself with my family. we sort of just disappeared. 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. we were almost stepped on by two fishermen as .who had never received even one vote in a Downbeat Poll." using a pot for a bongo. When the moon started to rise slowly from the horizon. Beverly leaned back to look at the stars.
but jumped into a cab and headed uptown. My first surprise was that Beverly chose to go back to her apartment. and how stupid could I be. About a week or so after that. Things were a bit strained at the house. we piled into the car and headed back to the Village. Well.).14 they walked by. but rather retreated from the situation to lick my wounds. opened the door. and. she called and in a very stress-filled voice. I felt extremely elated because our relationship had now escalated from friendship to romance. I did not give it much thought. before I could figure out why. I didn't even take time to get the Healey. especially in the sand. asked me if I could come up to her apartment right away. I was really disappointed and down in the dumps. As my eyes focused. not mine. never even seeing us. as they say. I know what I'd have been watching. Things did not progress as I thought they would. And while our lovemaking was far from what it would become (The first time hardly ever is. "Time flies when you're having fun. I rushed up the five flights of stairs to her apartment. She sounded as if she were in some sort of trouble. Beverly was back with Milton. I learned that Beverly had moved up to a big new apartment on 57th Street and was living by herself. it was 10:30 and I realized we'd been gone for three hours. So with a warm romantic glow surrounding us. I was starting to wonder how many times I would do this. After some brief good-byes. something I thought only a short time before was never going to happen. 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. I never really asked Beverly what was going on or why." when I glanced at my watch. hand in hand we headed back to the house. and there stood Beverly and Milton. that perhaps I had been a pawn in a war between them. 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 . I guess Carol never did convert my family to the joys of art. But since we were all pretty tired. About two weeks later. I began to feel "used" somehow.
While Beverly had been trying to let Milton down easy since our first night on the beach. He. bad for Milton. of course. Beverly was a joy to be with. 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. but was quickly running out of options. we still don't know what he was going to deliver. was so shocked. Now Milton was my size. happy-golucky. I did not relish the idea of having to use physical force to get him to accept his fate. About this time. not as they would like them to be. I was ecstatic. an intellectual. and not at all a physical threat. She needed my help to convince him. 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. I arrive home a bit early one night and when I saw Beverly. I had been quiet throughout Beverly's attempt to explain to Milton that he was history. Unfortunately.15 her alone. Finally. the UPS man arrived before me. the store was sending me on a buying trip to Europe and I had an early Sunday . and if he kept bothering Beverly. We started seeing each other regularly and most of the time she would spend the night. with Milton a thing of the past. Finally I had this beautiful. told Milton that I did not want to hurt him. But he was really unable to face the fact that he had lost Beverly and was acting very irrational. he had misread it (as had I) and thought I was a pawn. of course. told him to face the facts. she was a bit shaken. I escorted him to the door. I was still working at Bamberger's Department Store in New Jersey and commuting to my job from the Village. yelling and screaming and carrying on in general--all in a poetic manner. I would not be so restrained as I was at present. fun-to-be-with girl and my days of emotional blackmail with Barbara faded from view. So now. but he is a poet. So much for Irish deviltry. talented. but he was being an irrational nuisance (Read pain in the ass). I got up. it turns out: good for Sven. Not so. It seemed she thought she would surprise me by opening the door stark naked. She had a very active imagination and a bit of the Irish devil in her.
and the rest was history. I heard screams and saw a huge. Since I had an early flight and had drunk a trifle more than I should have. She met me at the airport and it was great to see her. It was a long two weeks and I really missed her and could not wait to get back. put a Scott airpack over my face and took me out of the apartment. Beverly said she'd clean up the place and be right in. The firemen were great. fell asleep. Beverly thought it would e a good idea to give me a going away party. I passed into a deep sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. One fireman got me up from the bed. so I showered. I saw her on the hall steps getting oxygen. and we were both delighted that her career was starting to really move. even Barbara didn't burn my apartment to ashes. By now the place was loaded with firemen and hoses. and I had to leave for the airport in a few hours. About this time there was a young model in New York who was starting to appear on .16 morning flight to London. that Beverly was in there someplace. dark figure coming in my window from the fire escape. I washed up and went right to bed. I told him I had to go back in. It was now about four a.m. The next thing I knew. Some "fun" girl. said I'd be back in two weeks. Beverly had had an insatiable desire for french fries. kissed her a sad good-bye and headed for the airport. 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. Beverly was not in bed with me. The place was a real mess and it turned out that as she was cleaning up. they got the fire under control in a very efficient manner and were very helpful and polite to both Beverly and me. packed. She told me she had just been booked into the Village Vanguard. It was a lot of fun and broke up about 1 a. sat down for a minute. I asked Beverly to call the landlord and get the place fixed. so she invited about twelve of my friends over for drinks and dinner. and we went out for breakfast.m. She started to heat the oil. when just about that time. the best jazz club in New York.
said yes. their talk grew louder. and I went to the table to wait for Millie and Nicky. Now Nicky had a well deserved reputation as a world-class playboy. no one else. The place fell silent as the lights dimmed and the spot picked up Beverly." one of them yelled out a rather ungentlemanly remark. It was a breeding ground for stardom. a Certain Kind of Lover." The crowd loved her. boats. until when Beverly started to sing “I Long for a Lover. not them. We got to the club. 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. who was really shy. but only if he'd take her to the Vanguard to see Beverly perform. and planes. Beverly went to her dressing room. She sure was fun. Her name was Millie Perkins. As they continued to drink more. Nicky and I were on these two guys in a blink of an eye and before we could throw our second punches. the club owner.17 every fashion magazine cover. As if it had been well orchestrated. you came to hear the performance. and had been married to Elizabeth Taylor. . She looked sensational and my heart skipped a beat as she started off with "You Make Me Feel So Young. They caused a bit of a stir as they walked over to the table. but after a few songs. The Vanguard of those days was a serious club. I could hear a group of four people behind us talking while Beverly was singing. the bouncer had ejected the two cigars and the bims. Beverly arranged with Max Gordon. Beverly hardly missed a note. I turned around and saw two cigar-smoking guys with two world-class bimbos. and to please keep quiet. This was just not done at the Vanguard. She was from Fairlawn. New Jersey. but did introduce us to the crowd and loud applause when she finished her song. to get us the best table. was very good looking. He raced cars. it had the best jazz musicians and the best comics. I told them we came to hear the girl. and both Beverly and I knew her. Millie. Nicky and Millie came in. The place started to fill up and just about ten minutes before the show was to start.
Steve Allen who was the late night show man---forget Paar. I loved it and I was crazy about her. no showers. Beverly was excited about it and we went out for dinner and then to our front-row seats in the theater. and fun. no sinks. She seemed a bit distant. and she was about to record another album. One day I read a great review of the opening of "The Boyfriend" off Broadway. but she always seemed to have it under control and in her business there were always people buying her drinks. Beverly's career seemed to be booming. much more. was great looking. as my mind started . About half way through the show. By now it was about 10 o'clock and Beverly went into the bathroom and I went to the bedroom to get undressed. I hardly got any sleep. it occurred to me it was quiet. I called again louder thinking she might have fallen asleep. So what if she almost burned my apartment down? The weeks and months raced by. After about 15 minutes. sang like an angel. who was not a big fan of hers. No toilets flushed. Carson. too quiet. witty. The review was such a rave that I dashed over to the theater and got us seats for that Saturday. it would be that she did tend to drink a bit too much. I saw little of Anatole.18 The next night. Beverly said she wanted to leave and so we did. "Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys. She was bright. Next. in the bathroom. was sensitive and very perceptive. and had a keen sense of humor." The days and the nights were great. Still no answer. I called to Beverly and there was no reply. He heard Beverly sing and instantly booked her to do his show. I went to the bathroom door. If pressed really hard to find something I didn’t like about Beverly. it was very still inside. and said she just was not in the mood for it. she was everything I thought she would be and much. and so we walked back to the apartment. Leno---he started it and was a great talent. either staying out late in clubs hearing her sing or going to recording sessions. Beverly and I were a happy couple and needed no one else to distract us from each other. easy going. no sound. and nothing of Milton.
but she was far from alert. "How many pills did you take?" She said. but if she fell asleep. her condition seemed to me more like a whole bottle. scary. next to her. put both of us under the icy cold water. Seconal. three I could deal with. "I only took three and flushed the rest down the toilet. She had both and she also had an empty sleeping pill bottle. I picked her up and tried to get her awake. It was miserable. “I took the whole bottle.19 racing with scary thoughts. My oId first-aid training came to the fore as I checked for a pulse and to make sure she had unobstructed breathing. I saw Beverly sprawled on the floor. I asked her. using only the cold water. I didn't want her held in Bellevue for an attempted suicide. I got us out of the shower. so I turned on the shower. with Beverly drifting in and out of consciousness. The police and EMT's were there in a matter of minutes. After they took a look at Beverly. Having taken a sleeping pill or two myself. but they were also very understanding." I breathed a huge sigh of relief. it should be all right. I kicked in the locked bathroom door. the whole bottle needed professional help. they were as puzzled as I. On the other hand. Cold. She finally blinked her eyes. purple-lipped and nearly frozen. but there was no way I was going to lose her. put her on the bed and dialed 911. I put her in bed and she fell asleep at once. But then she turned to me and said. I thanked them and then got Beverly and took her ( and me) back into the shower. I . it became clear that I'd rather deal with the bureaucracy than risk losing Beverly. I was petrified and had to find out how many of the pills she had taken to determine what to do next. After what seemed like an eternity I thought she was passed the danger point and so we left the shower. they would come back at once and pump her stomach and she would be kept at Bellevue for further observation. I could not get her awake. teeth-chattering. As I stood. They said as long as I could keep her awake for a few hours. As I pushed inside.” I didn’t know which one to believe. I can't say enough for the quick response we got. and holding her upright in my arms. None. unconscious.
I shook her awake. I sat there for four hours watching every move. 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. The next thing I knew. He was in the neighborhood and was dropping in to shoot the breeze with me. but her personae went 'way beyond that. Our relationship picked up where it had left off. There was a grace and aura about Beverly that's hard to capture. Since I had no better insight I accepted her answer. but she was alive! As she recovered. she was back to all gaiety and light the next day. Beverly was about to cut a new album. the rise and fall of her chest. he thought. the girls were out the window and on their way down the fire escape. Anatole was now going out with Millie and had forbidden her to see Beverly who. this gay. I remember one night Beverly had Millie Perkins over to dinner. who had seemed light years away from Barbara. and of course she would never do it again. carefree. looking for any abnormalities. Beverly made more records. But the hard-core jazz aficionados were still buying her records and going to the jazz clubs. I watched every breath she took. she was very sensitive and perceptive. A couple of funny things come to mind. and that was the end of it. did more club dates and was asked to Chicago to do a centerfold for Playboy Magazine. I tried to find out from her why she did it. So. seemed now a lot closer than I ever suspected possible. what a stupid thing to do. She felt terrible. Things always seem more threatening in the dark. She said she couldn't imagine what possessed her to take the pills. The next six months flew by. It was not the best time for jazz singers as rock and roll was reaching a peak. In the middle of dinner the doorbell rang.m.20 stayed up and watched her like a hawk. It was Anatole downstairs. I won't even try to explain . At about 8 a. The sun started to rise and I started to feel better. happy girl. But with a characteristic mood swing. was a bad influence on Millie.
She was going to a recording session for her latest record. Only one thing was missing---Beverly. or at the time.. a diversion happened. It occurred to me that since she was in her domestic mode. It seemed that perhaps I had found the girl to marry. 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. and there was a psychiatrist named Dr.m. but always challenging one way or another. So I went into the parking garage to do some work on the Healey. things settled down. We finished it. she opened her mouth to sing and she could make no sound. which happened about once a year. that she had gone to the market to get some food for supper. everything in its proper place. the apartment looked great. "Like Yesterday" in which she was recording songs made famous by other female vocalists. With that problem out of the way. One of the musicians said this was not uncommon. No matter. she was able to finish the record. No note. As I surveyed all the aisles it became clear to me she was not in the market. One Saturday morning. She always liked to be relaxed for these sessions so I opened a bottle of Champagne with dinner. Much to my disappointment. I had work to do and couldn't go with her. She grabbed a cab to the recording studio. Just as these thoughts were coming forward in my mind and seemed to make sense. she had probably gone to . It was a night session for her album called. The next day she went to see him and after a few days. She certainly was never dull or boring. no nothing. and she was feeling relaxed and ready. deciding to sneak up from behind her in the aisle of the supermarket and give her a huge hug. certainly not 35 years later. They had to cancel the rest of the session. Jonas who specialized in solving this problem.21 it because I know I can't. She called in the middle of the session to say that as they started to record the fourth cut. I got home about 4 p. and another. for that matter. Beverly said she was going to do a major cleaning on the apartment and I would be in the way.
No. no matter how far from the apartment. she wasn't there and had not been there. I was really upset. so her departure must have been recent. I thought we were very happy. No. The only admission was an Anne Kenney.. but St. I left the apartment. They again replied.m. I started to call the hospitals. She could have left anytime after 10. At least calling the hospitals was something to do. Was she kidnapped? Was she running away from me for some unknown reason? It seemed unlikely. I called there first. I called her parents in New Jersey thinking she might have gone over for a quick visit. or maybe I did but didn't want to do it. Vincent's had no one admitted by the name of Beverly Kenney. I called the other two hospitals closest to our apartment only to get the same news. no Beverly.m. I called Bellevue next and asked if a Beverly Kenney had been admitted. looked everywhere." Bells went off. I asked why she was .22 the liquor store. they had not heard from her. I'd been gone since 10 a. "No. By now panic had set in and I really didn't know what to do next. I said I was Doctor Weseley (a friend of mine and a real doctor). I started to get a slight uneasy feeling. Vincent's was only a few blocks away. called Millie. and I started to be concerned. but thought I might have missed her in the supermarket. This was not like her and I was petrified that something terrible had happened to her. I then realized it must have taken most of the day for her to get the apartment so clean. By now it was near 6 p. no no Beverly. checked all the bars where we would go. I was petrified that she'd been hit by a car on the way to the market. that was her middle name.m. got home at 4 p. Since St. I decided to call every hospital in the City. With a quickened pace I returned to the apartment. I went the half block to our liquor merchant. I just did not know what to do next. Hours of literally running around Greenwich Village and calling on all our friends to no avail.
I was desolate. I thanked them and said I'd be right over. I said I'd be back in the morning.23 admitted and all they would tell me over the phone was that she was in the psychiatric ward. I parlayed that into my being there. My heart broke to see her in this place. I told the nurse I wanted to see her. . and took a couple of sleeping pills I had locked away and went to bed. 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. The nurse made it clear. The nurse led me to a gurney and there pale and looking vulnerable lay Beverly absolutely still in her drugged sleep. went home. I pulled myself together. but I had no choice." She brought me a chart that said she had turned herself in saying she felt she was going to do something self-destructive. Not having a clue what I was doing. I said. 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. This marvelous person did not belong here. There were more details of time of admittance and the sedative they'd given her. It was shattering to see her there. "Let me see the rest of the charts. She did and she handed me a chart with a big red suicidal stamped on it. I had to see her and no civilian visitors were allowed. no one could get her released that night. It was now nearly midnight. She led me to the door and locked it behind me. The nurse opened the door for me and I said. 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 went up to the third floor psychiatric ward and knocked on the locked door. I was up early the next morning and as I headed for Bellevue hoped they would not discover I was not a doctor. security was loose. I'm sure there were dire consequences if they did. Since it was a Sunday. this squalor. "Let me see her chart. cold and rainy. etc. I told her to please get them." She said they were locked up.
I went to the hospital the next day.. this is what Dr. etc. I'll treat you real nice. come on. to ask for advice. again. Once again things fell into their routine. It was clear there was no way around it. and since I pushed my “Doctor” bit as far as I dared. I neglected to tell him I had used his name. But then. a gynecologist. Jonas was going to do. But this behavior was beginning to take its toll on me. I called my friend." etc. "Get me out of here these people are crazy. but that was not important now. She told me a few stories about her crazy friends and they were truly scary. happy. He said there was nothing to be done. the real Doctor Wesley. I asked the nurse for a phone. Gay. The nurse informed me she could only be released if a psychiatrist signed her out saying he was going to treat her privately. and maybe he was the man to call. I left there shaken. She beckoned to me and whispered in my ear. get me out of here. but at least she was alive and would be back with me tomorrow. waited till she was released and brought her home. She looked better already and was her same old entrancing self." to "Doc. No matter how hard I tired I seemed unable to get to the core of this behavior. Besides there was no other way. but she assured me she could handle one more night. It was like two completely different people." I said I'd see what I could do. give me a shot. I went back and told Beverly who seemed in good spirits about what we were going to do. it's a mistake. Jonas. I was accosted by a number of patients as I was leaving with shouts of "Doc. carefree. but reminded me of Beverly's sessions with Dr. The carefree girl on the beach in East Hampton had changed to .24 Our eyes met. I did and he said he would sign her out the next day. and only saying she didn't know why she turned herself in.
At least with Barbara. it was still a mystery. Jonas three times a week. So. Joanna and I watched the Open and then it was dinnertime. I knew what set her off and how to control it. I was dispirited that. and I could feel us drifting apart. I had lost a lot of my enthusiasm for our relationship as it became more scary and less comfortable. Then again. Open and gave me an off-hand invitation to join her when she learned of my keyless plight. Anatole's young Swede whom I'd met in East Hampton. but he was away. but I didn't discern any progress. or what was it? . We got to her apartment and I called Sam. Buffalo. Jonas to make those judgements. not me. One weekend I went down to Deal as Beverly was away on a job. Rochester. Beverly was seeing Dr. Joanna was not one of the warmest people you would ever meet and was also standoffish. 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.S. with Beverly. As I was going over to my friend Sam's to see if I could spend the night. she always seemed to be on guard. Beverly had a number of bookings out of town in the next few months. Joanna offered a potluck dinner and then it was bedtime. My head at this time was more concerned with my disillusionment with my relationship with Beverly than it was with starting any new relationship. Chicago. I ran into Joanna.25 a different person. 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. it was up to Dr. When I got back to the Village. once again. I discovered I'd left my keys at the Shore. She was going to her apartment to watch the U. more like Barbara than not.
Swedish breasts through the baby-doll quite clearly. and finally we decided we would be better off apart. firm. I did not leave my couch all night nor did I have any visitors and that was just fine. I got up in the morning and knocked on Joanna's door and asked if she wanted some coffee. the sun was shining through her window. So.26 Joanna interrupted my reverie to ask if I wanted to sleep on her couch as none of my other friends could be located. I boiled some water. In fact. just once. but things did not get any better. Beverly came back to town. baby-doll nightie. I wondered why couldn't I. She was back-lit by the sun and I could see her young. Jonas myself. told me goodnight and went into her bedroom. I gratefully accepted. She was sitting on her bed wearing a white. She gave me a pillow and some sheets. After a few months. We were still friends and I kept paying for Dr. There was a lot of tension in our relationship. After the session he took . "Yes. She said. be the one who was hurt? I felt better able to deal with it than the women I hurt. gauzy. 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. made the coffee and toast and brought it into her bedroom." and told me where to find the instant. and was able to reach the fire escape next to my window and get into my apartment. I was miserable and decided to go see Dr. There was something very erotic about it and I momentarily forgot my despair and gave into my voyeurism. he put me in a group session. Jonas and her therapy three times a week. got into a neighbor's apartment. at least for the time being. she found an apartment in a women's residence on 12th Street and moved out. we just kept drifting farther apart. It was a cool September Sunday. We spent the day hanging around the Village and about dinnertime I headed to my apartment.
I told her I knew how much it meant for her to buy Christmas presents for her family. 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'll die if I don't have her. The week before Christmas. I agreed and so I became an ex-patient while Beverly continued. Things were tough in the jazz business and. yes. I saw a few different girls. and talked." I just didn't feel that way. It seemed to lift her spirits momentarily and to see her smile was worth more than I could ever have saved. but it would do. As a matter of fact. I was still working at Bambergers' in . No spark. no. Winter passed and Spring arrived. It was all incredibly depressing.27 me aside. said that I had dominated and controlled the group and that group therapy was not for me. I kept in touch and kept paying Dr. I called Beverly and asked her to meet me for a drink. Beverly called one day to say she was going out with a new guy and while I had a quick pang of jealousy. always afraid she would do something self-destructive. It was a lonesome time for me and I was constantly worried about Beverly. then walked home. more depressed than ever. had a drink. I was glad for her and hoped it would work out. but my heart wasn't in it. Fall had turned to winter and Christmas was approaching but my bleak mood and concern for Beverly dominated my life. We met at Julius'. Her apartment was dreary. He did not think it wise to try and strip my defenses and start allover again. she was still seeing Dr. Jonas. Jonas and thanked me for continuing to pay the bills. I walked her to her apartment. and gave her a couple of hundred bucks I'd managed to save. knowing she could barely pay her rent. Life went on.
and I was sure that was what Zen had heard. heartsick. Could it all be a mistake.28 Newark as the men's sportswear buyer. and I still did not believe it was true. He said. My heart stood still. I zombielike walked in and opened my mailbox. Zen got me in his car and drove me back to may apartment in the Village. out of sheer habit. "What do you mean?" He said that he heard on the radio that she'd killed herself. who then left and the phone started ringing. I instantly recognized the handwriting. "What did Beverly do?" I said. I walked into the apartment where we had spent so much glorious time. against logic. Please see that I'm cremated. I really did. About 2:30 one April afternoon. saying I had done all that was possible. BK" If it was possible to be more miserable than I already was. I really did love you. There was one skinny invitation-size envelope inside. Zen. nothing was your fault. I . I was numb. I opened the envelope. I told him I was not up to it at the moment. dated the night before." Dear Sven. but the impact had not hit me. As we walked into the lobby of my apartment. Love and Goodbye. She had taken an overdose of sleeping pills and was dead. I said you must have heard it wrong. There it was on the front page. Other friends called all in shock. came into my office and looked like he'd just seen a ghost. disoriented. scared. Thanks for everything. hoping against hope. Beverly's new boyfriend called and wanted to talk. little to be done. Inside was a note that said. against what I knew was true. First it was Beverly's sister. (At that time a young Beverly Aadland was accusing Erroll Flynn of rape. the note did it. There was little to be said.) He said he was sure and so I raced down to the street and picked up the late edition of the Newark News. my best friend at work. I thanked Zen.
of all places. He said we should go out to dinner and though I didn't feel like eating. we were then joined by Walter's girlfriend and a friend of her's she'd brought along to cheer me up. not very good for trying to forget Beverly for even a moment. not . he insisted I get out of the hotel room. She asked me on the way if I wanted to stop at her apartment for a nightcap and I said yes. Jonas and asked him how could this happen.A. At the restaurant. Beverly Hills. He had heard the news and told me I needed to get away from the Village. the alternative was to commit her for treatment.29 called Dr. I made the best of it. We shared a double room because he didn't want me to be alone.A. The thing I feared most had happened and I was not coping very well. was paralyzed with grief. After dinner Walter and his girlfriend went on to another engagement. airport. but since they were trying to help. And made me even more depressed. He said Beverly needed psychiatric care seven days a week and since she could only afford three days. He had a first-class ticket waiting for me at the airport on the American flight that left in about an hour. The apartment and the memories were starting to get to me. The hotel was the Beverly Wilshire. who am usually at my best in a crisis. the memories. Jean was going to drop me off at my hotel. the apartment. It was an unacceptable answer and sounded like a cop out to me. I didn't much like the surprise. He said to get on the plane and he would pick me up at the L. The next thing I remember was Walter at the gate in L. Just about that time the phone rang and it was my friend Walter calling from Los Angeles. I. I guess I needed someone to tell me what to do. He drove me to our hotel in. so I dashed to the airport and just caught the plane as they were about to close the door.
It wasn't easy. My worst fear had happened and it would either destroy me or. As we talked. I was inconsolable. a truly enchanting person. many years later. and was very good at drawing me out. it came out that she had lived in the Village. and I choose that word carefully. from of all people. a lot of support. [another of the 22 Girls ] Joanna (the hard-hearted Hannah). if I survived it. able to face anything. We talked till the sun started to rise over the mountains. The next few days were a blur of misery. It was a matter of time.m. put on the stereo and once again hear her sweet. innocent voice. Now. I thanked her for getting me through the worst night of my life and got a cab back to the Beverly Wilshire. Beverly was one of a kind. in retrospect. I look at her picture on the CD covers. it made no difference. many. knew of Beverly. and I must admit. and she brought me a drink. we had breakfast on our lanai and talked. No matter what anybody said or did. It seems to me now. We got to her place around 11 p. .30 wanting to be alone. I would come out stronger. And try to think only of the good times. that it was a turning point in my life. was a great comfort. I woke Walter.
was winning a Florida State doubles tennis championship in 1991 with his brother Danny after they had not played together for fifty years. 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. he a felt. She was always up. contrary to Jonathan Schwartz’s belief.31 MORT! By Bill Reed Mort Lowenstein and I have since become good phone friends who talk about a myriad of subjects and still. “Whatever makes me happy makes her happy. As for the Playboy photos taken of Beverly. I once asked Mort if all this talk about the singer didn’t rankle his wife. In them. Specifically. Beverly looked “nervous. Mort said. a delight. “She once gave me a sterling silver disc with the following printed on it: ‘All the reasons why I like (or love you) . did night go gently into that gentle good night still carrying a torch for Milton Klonsky. But his proudest achievement. he replied. he said. they were never published because they simply did not turn out so well. I asked if he might be able to expand upon what might have caused Beverly to take her life. but when he eventually married he got rid of all things released to his years with Kenney except. In my initial call to him after reading the memoir. he wasn’t sure it was that simple. could it have been undiagnosed manic depression? No. his affair with Beverly.” He once had copies. But some form of depression clearly played a part. he wrote to me.” It is also worth noting that he too. like actress Perkins. from time to time. he once told me. feels that their friend.
” ________ .J. patient. You have tact. 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. You’re mushy You taste good.32 You are fun. I still have and cherish it. quietly intelligent. calm and manly-neither a snob or Intimidated by snobs-you like me-you smell good and sweet and clean.s Christmas 1955 BK’ Obviously.’ On the reverse side was the following: ‘All the reasons why I hate you.
Who Cares What People Say. You Make Me Feel So Young Beverly Kenney Sings with Jimmy Jones & the Basie-ites (Roost. A Lover Like You. A Fine Romance. It's A Most Unusual Day Born to be Blue (Decca. Go Away My Love. Tampico POSTHUMOUS COMMERCIAL RELEASES Snuggled on Your Shoulder (SSJ Records . Isn't it a Pity. It's a Blue World. A Foggy Day. The Things We Did Last Summer. I Never Has Seen Snow. You're My Boy. I Had The Craziest Dream. Old Buttermilk Sky. Any Old Time.33 DISCOGRAPHY Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith (Roost. Again. Mairzy Doats My Kind Of Love. Life Can Be Beautiful. A Sunday Kind Of Love. 1956) with the Ralph Burns Orch. Ball and Chain (Sweet Lorraine). A Summer Romance. Somewhere Along the Way. Tis' Autumn. Moe's Blues. This Can't Be Love. Beyond the Next Hill. Mama Do I Gotta?. 1959) Born to Be Blue. It Ain't Necessarily So. Try a Little Tenderness. That's All. Makin' Whoopee.Japan. I'll Know My Love (Greensleeves). If I Were a Bell. Moe's Blues. The Dipsy Doodle. Stairway to the Stars. Why Try to Chance Me Now. Can't Get out of This Mood. Gay Chicks (dance education recording) (This recording was also issued on vinyl by SSJ minus the final track) . Isn't This A Lovely Day. There Will Never Be Another You. It Only Happens When I Dance with You. What A Diff'rence A Day Made. 1956) with the Johnny Smith Quartet The Surrey With the Fringe on Top. Scarlet Ribbons. It's Magic. piano. Where Can I Go Without You Like Yesterday (Decca. 1957) Nobody Else But Me. 1958) with Ellis Larkins. Joe Benjamin. Can't Get Out Of this Mood Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys (Decca. The Charm Of You. Violets For My Furs. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place. A-You're Adorable. I Walk a Little Faster. Happiness Is A Thing Called Jo. What Is There To Say. For All We Know. Destination Moon. Ball and Chain. bass Do It Again. Looking for a Boy. Sentimental Journey. The More I See You. Give Me the Simple Life. Almost Like Being in Love. More Than You Know. And The Angels Sing. This Little Town in Paris. Vanity. 1960) Undecided. Swinging on a Star. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. 2006. comprised of 1954 demo recordings) Tea for Two. There Will Never Be Another You. Snuggled on Your Shoulder Come Swing with Me (Roost. A Woman's Intuition. Snuggled on Your Shoulder. You Go to My Head. Trolley Song.
dance education recordings. That Pyramid Jazz. I Hate Rock and Roll. I Don't Believe in Love. comprised of circa mid-1950s radio transcriptions arr. The Night. The Stars. Makin' Whoopee. Tappin' Out a Merry Beat. comprised of broadcast airchecks. Yours Sincerely. Taking a Chance on Love. Your Love is My Love . What’s I Like in Paris.Japan 2007. Time Was/It’s So Peaceful in the Country. Dark and Handsome. The songs are: Brooklyn Love Song. Long. Charleston Fling. The Moon. The Magic Touch. Let's Try It Again. Lean And Lanky (This recording was also issued on vinyl by SSJ. 12. 11) What Is There to Say?. 7-10. of a song co-written by BK. I'm Ready for the Show. Sing a Rainbow. Interview SINGLES For the Decca label. contemporary rec. Swing and Sway.Japan. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. Kenney cut six additional tracks which have appeared as bonus tracks for LPs and CD* or for release only as singles (final two). Too Late To Be Sorry. 1-6. Too Bad. Tall. by Eddie Safranski) Lonely And Blue.) What is There to Say? (SSJ Records .34 Lonely and Blue (SSJ Records . It's A Mean Old World. The More I See You. 2009.
as fresh in sound as she is in presence. She probably would have sounded even better with a more rhythmically stimulating . horn-like phrasing that flows with fine." In the other two numbers of her brief set under review.35 MISTER KELLY’S. inventive and individualized. 23. "Mountain Greenery" and "Can't Get Out of This Mood." Beverly continued to be relaxed. pg. 3. CHICAGO REVIEWS "Caught in the Act" from Downbeat. Beverly confirmed the impact she made several weeks previously at a Carnegie Hall concert. The girl. sounds like a great jazz vocal find. sustained pulsation. Beverly's witty and soundly musical imagination turns even "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" into a lightly wailing jazz vehicle. Backed by the Johnny Smith quartet in her Basin Street debut. sings with continually imaginative. 1955 (writer unknown): Beverly Kenney. 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.
Contrasted with other relative newcomers. 12. and even--I regret to say--the Sarah of recent months--have sounded muchof the time like . The girl to whom it belongs is Beverly Kenney. From Downbeat.36 background than the Johnny Smith quartet provided. Carmen and Jeri. Beverly is beginning to arrive and she is displaying the kind of ability and potential that should enable her to stay a long time. hearing Jeri Southern now and then. 1956: It looks as if finally. but almost limitless musical possibilities. DO UNDERSTAND ME: I do deny that the aforementioned worthers--Teddi. Beverly is more flexible though not yet as emotionally gripping as Helen Merrill. and others of that neat and nimble art. listening to this performance of Teddi King. It’s been fun from time to time. girl singers of a kind of jazz quality. a new voice of unmistakable jazz quality has appeared to take its place beside those of Sarah Vaughan. in recent years.February 22. although the latter's longer experience enables her to project more powerfully than Beverly yet does. Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Teddi King. 23. DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME. 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. by Barry Ulanov. girl singers of quality. and she is looser and swings more easily than the current and overly careful. Beverly's musicianship and care for lyrics is superior to Chris Connor's and she can stand partial favorable comparison with Carmen McRae. a New Jersey-ite of very little professional experience.and that of Carmen McRae.
Perry Como has it. they have even succeeded. one never does when box office supplants beat and jukebox supercedes jazz as desiderata. Out and out jazz singing? Rarely. Jeri and Sarah. pulsating pound of her. Another explanation is natural equipment. One explanation is the material performed by these estimable women. anyhow. between heavy dramatic roles. or at least Carmen. identify which is two parts youth and one part high spirits -. that even turn of stone that in combination. still has it. Ella Fitzgerald has it too. however. 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. too much of the time. A beat? I guess so. Old Jimmy Rushing has had it ever since he cracked his voice on a nursery rhyme. 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. Jazz influences? Sure. they (including unfortunately. But the drought has . those spirits. that naivete. the latter day Sarah) seem to lack that curious texture. but not everything. They have tried too hard for that hit record.or maybe it's the other way around. Billie Holiday.37 bona fide jazz singers. Have I made my point? I've been trying to raise a cheer or two for Beverly Kenney. Frank Sinatra has it too. tired as she must be much of the time. 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. They have not maintained a consistent jazz quality. no matter how slow the tempo or sobbing the mood of the song she's singing. and worn by every sort of misery. For all the considerable skill of these well endowed singers. every powerful. and that odd twist of phrase. he's addicted --it's what keeps him within a half-chorus or so of jazz. at least according to my taste. Age has something to do with it anyway. that buoyancy.
will rank as a singer for his early years. "White Christmas" or "Sweet Leilani" or . make clear that his is a substantial contribution to American singing. There's a kind of moral hidden in the argument. But the big kicks. such instrumental precision. I'm certain. even he. too.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. the ones that add up to chapters in history books. There's fun in a charming novelty and tender delight in a sweet balladeer. Jazz remains a most wonderfully. 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. But Beverly too is a jazzman. and never more direct or to the point than when sung. who in the last year or so. in future years.strictly jazz singers. has been re-establishing a place for the larynx and the pharynx for jazz: Joe Williams. the gulps and gobbles that first established him which will.they come from jazz singers -. such wit. straightforward music. and there's no hiding the fact.and another example as well. 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. which is not hidden. It's in my argument and Beverly's example -. and a place in the American Parthenon -. that of the other singer. I think. Both Beverly in her first record (which should be around by the time you read this) and Joe are straightforward jazz singers. I'm convinced. such exuberance. of course. It's that. that makes the hidden moral. the improvised measures with Eddie Lang. not. Even Bing.
although I hope she is.39 any of the latter sweet meats. Entry from Handbook of Jazz by Barry Ulanov (publisher unknown). where the crowds will go for her looks as well as her vocals. Beverly may not be the one to do it. Without it. born Harrison." and "Almost Like Being in Love. pg. this is just a little flurry and not the great jazz blizzard we've been assured so often of late we're enjoying. much influenced by Billie Holiday. NJ. On the in-person level. but she's got a strong hold when she peppers up on "Surrey with the Fringe on the Top. and gets a distinction all her own with a sunny and refreshing piping approach. . 1957: Beverly Kenney. From Variety. Repertoire shows care in selectivity and delivery. She's no carbon-copy however. Only in the slow mood does she seem to lose command of the crowd. The jazz touches are well-planned and she gives the standards in the songbag a fresh meaning with her oftbeat phrasing. although he has made great 13 bar strides towards it already. she's a top bet for jazzrooms. husky-voiced new arrival in jazz. New Acts. June 1956 (author unknown): Beverly Kenney is an off shoot of the mellow modem vocal stylings pioneered by June Christy and Chris Connor. 54." "Mountain Greenery." Miss Kenney is now etching for the indie Roost label and has the makings of a good album seller. because I enjoy her singing so much. 1932: An able. Joe may not be able to do it. But it will come. It? A large scale revival of jazz singing to go along with the success of the small jazz group of the last few years.
40 Variety. 1960: Beverly Kenney. (Thanks to Frederick Stack of Boston. 26. singer. died in New York. MA for unearthing these reviews and profiles of Kenney) ___________________________ . April 20. (obituary): Wednesday.
1890-1960. the San Francisco Examiner.scribd. the arts and popular culture have appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone. Hot From Harlem: Twelve AfricanAmerican Artists.” He wrote for the hit TV series One Day at a Time. was published by McFarland Press in 2009. and is also the co-author of Rock on Film (Putnam's). He is a producer of jazz releases for SSJ Records (Japan). and International Documentary.com/doc/18644342/A-Fine-Romance-My-Lifelong-Affair-WithJazz-Singing-and-Singers .41 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bill Reed's writings on show business. A revised edition of his book. His new collection of writings about jazz singing is available at: http://www.
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