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 he sent me the following chapter about Kenney that was part of an unpublished book he wrote.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