Marty Elkins

Fridays at Cenzino

REVIEWS


WBGO LIVE PERFORMANCE/INTERVIEW ABOUT "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER".  QUOTES FROM HOST/MICHAEL BOURNE:

"You're one of those singers like Billie Holiday, like Carmen McRae, there's several others..that when you hear them singing, when you hear them speaking - it's the same voice, the same range, the same timbre. In some ways they just musicalize their speaking voice into their singing voice.  You do that, too.

What is appealing about you...you don't "diva up" these songs..you sing very simply.  I appreciate the craft of that and the art.  You're not foolin' around.  That's what appeals to musicians."

JAZZ TIMES/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER" /JAZZ TIMES

She can fetchingly navigate both a slithery "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" and a honeyed "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street", and handles ballads ...with equal adroitness to help drive her retro-fueled sound..."

SCOTT YANOW/NIGHTS AT THE TURNTABLE/REVIEW OF"WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Her subtle yet direct singing approach combines with a fetching voice to create a memorable swing style...Anyone who is a fan of first-class swing singing will certainly enjoy Marty Elkins' latest recording.

BOB RUSCH/CADENCE MAGAZINE/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Elkins sings in an understated bluesy fashion without pretension, with echo of Mildred Bailey...A lovely listen never out of style...

RAUL DA GAMA/JAZZ DA GAMA/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

The prime pleasure of this disc "Walkin' By The River" is Marty Elkins' silvery beauty of tone in the thirteen songs where she takes the dominant top line as the music of New Orleans and the  American South comes alive...(she) reinforces the timeless nature of the repertoire.  This is established in the first of this loose collection of songs.  These blooms, plucked from the heart of swing country also have narrative thorns and Elkins navigates them with absolute aplomb proving herself to be a storyteller par excellence.

DAN SINGER/IN TUNE MAGAZINE/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Ms. Elkins' vocal is a bright shining ray of musical merit.

CHRIS SPECTOR/MIDWEST RECORD/ REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Totally giving it the thrush rush, Elkins delivers these tunes as if she reached into a wormhole in time and pulled them back here for today.  The oldies album Maria Muldaur should have made in the 70s, this is the bomb by a real vocal bombshell.

MIKE GREENBLATT/CLASSICALITE/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Listening to these songs, arranged in this way, sung by this singer, is a total delight. Far too often, jazz singers strive for gravitas that ultimately equals boredom.  Marty Elkins is fun.  Pure fun.

MICHAEL C. BAILEY/JAZZ QUANTA/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Nagel-Heyer is the German Arbors Jazz with a twist.  Both are dedicated to "traditional" jazz (whatever that may be) and where Arbors Jazz can always be depended on to produce a solid, durable brand of New Orleans-cum-Chicago jazz, Nagel-Heyer will do the same with a sense of adventure and wonder...wonder of what is next.  It is with that spirit that one hears vocalist Marty Elkins' Walkin' By The River...Marty Elkins give a fresh and welcome new voice to this earlier jazz singer, that coming out of the 1920's.

JOE LANG/JERSEY JAZZ SOCIETY/REVIEW OF "WALKIN' BY THE RIVER"

Vocalist MARTY ELKINS has a terrific new album, Walkin’ By the River (Nagel Heyer – 119).  She hails from New Jersey, and has been on the New York/New Jersey scene for a few decades, but this is only her third album, all of them released on the German record label Nagel Heyer.  When you listen to her sing the 13 songs on this disc, you will wonder why she has so few recordings, and why no domestic label has added her to their roster.  This says a lot about the state of the music business in this day and age.  She has assembled a top-notch roster of musicians to accompany her, including Jon-Erik Kellso on trumpet, Howard Alden on guitar, Joel Diamond on organ, Steve Ash on piano, Lee Hudson on bass and Taro Okamoto on drums.  The songs are well suited to her jazz infused vocalizing.  It is fitting that “Down in Steamboat Tennessee” is included.  This song is associated with the legendary Lee Wiley, a singer whose influence is detectible when you listen to Elkins.  Among the other songs on the program are “If I Could Be with You,” “Runnin’ Wild,” “Comes Love,” “I’ll Never Be the Same, and the title tune, “Walkin’ By the River.”  This is a new recording, but has the feeling of a session from the 1930s, and that is a good thing!  (www.nagelheyer.de)


ZAN STEWART, DOWNBEAT/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“On this A-1 debut, Elkins keeps you believing, whether the story is big-smile glee (Day In, Day Out,” “As Long As I Live” and the title track) or wet-eyed poignancy - “Moonray,” “Wee Small Hours” and “Born to be Blue."  Her voice has a glowing roundness, she hits notes without strain and she swings....”  Four Stars/Voted one of the Best CDs of 2001 by Downbeat Magazine.


GEORGE KANTZLER, NEWARK STAR LEDGER/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“On “Fuse Blues” Elkins...sings mostly standards, with a voice...possessing a quiet, jazz-informed virtuosity.  She is reminiscent of the cool singers of the ‘50s - June Christy and Chris Connors - but more nuanced in jazz phrasing like, oddly, the singing of trumpeter Chet Baker.


JEROME WILSON, CADENCE MAGAZINE/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“Fuse Blues...is a debut from Marty Elkins....Her voice is young and tuneful with an endearing quality of honesty that, as Stanley Crouch says in the liner notes, makes her sound like no other singer around.  She sings without affectation.  Her voce is pure, simple and haunting.  She has the instinctual rhythmic sense of a true jazz singer and she knows how to ride a melody even when Greg Skaff, Herb Pomeroy and Houston Person are working behind her.  She gets a special note of poignancy on “In The Wee Small Hours” and rolls out the lyrics effortlessly on the faster tempos of “Moonray” and “As Long as I Live”.  On “Fuse Blues” there are even some hints of Dinah Washington and Annie Ross but Elkins’ voice is really her own.  She’s a very promising talent.”


DICK NEELD,JERSEY JAZZ/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“One of jazz’s persisting question is the matter of who is a jazz singer and who is not.....and then.  Bingo.  There are those relatively rare ones who can’t help but being thought of as jazz singers because they are so profoundly expressive and and sensitive in their delivery that there’s no doubt of total commitment.  Such is the case with this newcomer to the scene, Marty Elkins.  

She doesn’t need to go into exotic or esoteric jazz compositions to prove her jazz worthiness....she mostly stays with good solid standards.  What she does do is apply to them an intense understanding of, and feeling for, every note of the lyrics.  It’s a love affair with the music, with every song she sings, caressing every note.  Truly one of a kind, she sounds like no other singer, past or present.

This is a session where everything works, displaying the special talents of a genuine jazz singer who can get a tight grip on your attention, singing with deep conviction.”


MARCUS WOELFLE, AUTHOR, JAZZ JOURNALIST, EDITOR OF “JAZZ ZEITUNG” AND JAZZ VIOLINIST/REVIEW OF “IN ANOTHER LIFE”

“Marty Elkins doesn’t roar at the top of her lungs to impress people.  Nor is she a soft whisperer.  She has no shtick.  She is a stranger to exhibitionism.  She makes the impression of a born singer.  Relaxed, almost cool, yet with a natural warmth and an attitude in which modesty and nonchalance go hand in hand, she steps back behind the songs, singing and swinging, and putting herself unreservedly in their service.  This allows her to radiate so naturally that we find ourselves saying : ”What an awesome song that is!”  As we also think about songs we’ve known for ages, it takes us a moment to realize that this woman is an awesome interpreter....She doesn’t sing something she picked out of the Real Book yesterday but rather comes across as a singer deeply rooted in the tradition, who knows it well and nevertheless doesn’t just give us a carbon copy of Bessie or Billie.  On the contrary, she lets her own voice come to the fore.”


MICHAEL BAILEY, ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“Marty Elkins swings her ass off.  In a gentle sort of a way, I might add. She has got a Betty Carter delivery that is just inside of the ballpark of the boldness of Carter.  Elkins is very exact, taking some chances vocally, but only those she is confident of claiming.  This is no mean criticism, Marty Elkins is Anita O’Day without the hyperkinetic scat.  There is nothing to not enjoy (double negatives and all)...Elkins has done her homework and is accomplished in all corners of her craft...She is a unique talent.”


RICHARD BOURCIER, JAZZ AT A GLANCE/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“Marty’s deep voice is as smooth as Chivas Regal.  Once you’ve had a taste, you’ll be back for more...I have a habit of placing a little red dot on the edge of CDs I want to play for visiting jazz fans.   “Hey, Honey!  Where’s your fingernail polish?”


DREW WHEELER, CD NOW, SENIOR EDITOR, VOCAL/THEATRICAL/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“Marty Elkins debut album is clearly the high wattage result of a well-grounded talent.”


DAN SINGER, IN TUNE INTERNATIONAL/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“Until you have heard “Never Never Land” (Comden/Green) you ‘aint heard nothin’ yet.  The 14 songs are outstanding....Her soft easy flowing whispery voice travels miles indeed.  A trip anyone would just love to take.  There isn’t an unpleasant moment to be heard here.”


DEREK DAY, JAZZ REVIEW/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“With a voice fragile at times, stoically robust at others, she commands. respect...she  handles the subtle changes with ease.  Her pacing is brisk, her tone full and crisp:  this is a vocalist who understands the complexities of swing..oozing class and playful intent...”


ANDREAS GUYER, JAZZ PODIUM/REVIEW OF “FUSE BLUES”

“...an exceptionally mature and knowing jazz voice.  Her singing is distinctive, relaxed, swinging and refreshingly unmannered.  Her diction is crystal clear, she has a telling sense of space and she treats the melodic line of fine tunes with ...the utmost respect.  A remarkable new talent.”


MICHAEL STEINMAN/JAZZ LIVES, WORDPRESS.COM/REVIEW OF “IN ANOTHER LIFE”

“The first thing that must be said will seem tactless, but this CD is not the combination of a young, untried singer with a master pianist.  Not at all.  The Elkins – McKenna pairing is a meeting of convivial equals.  From the very first notes of this session, she shows off her relaxed, expert naturalness.  Her naturalness comes from loving the lyrics — that is, knowing what the words mean! - and admiring the composer’s original lines.  She has a sweet, earnest phrase-ending vibrato, reminiscent of a great trumpet player, and she holds her notes beautifully.  Marty’s delivery is full of feeling and warmth, but she doesn’t shout, grind, or act self-consciously hip.  Her voice is also attractive wholly on its own terms - it has a yearning, plaintive quality that fits the material, but that never overwhelms the song or the listener.”


MICHAEL STEINMAN/JAZZ LIVES, WORDPRESS.COM/REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE AT SMALLS, NYC

“The singer Marty Elkins is so good-natured that I know she won’t mind being compared to an imaginary restaurant. That’s the way I can explain her most easily.  Wherever you live, there are hidden treasures: the little place without a sign that does wonderful authentic tamales, or the serene old-fashioned restaurant with wonderful food and loving service . . . places that aren’t “popular” or “trendy” but that you prize dearly. Although Marty isn’t An Official Jazz Star, she is a treasure: someone who easily, lightly makes her way through a lyric without overacting — letting the meanings shine through.  She doesn’t aim to be Ella or Sarah, so her vocal style is heartfelt rather than histrionic.  Hearing her sing, you know what the lyrics mean, and you know that she knows. And her voice is a simple pleasure in itself: she has some of Lady Day’s loving tartness, but she never descends to imitation or emotive caricature.  And she swings! I had the pleasure of seeing (and recording) Marty and her pal, the ever-developing Ehud Asherie, on March 29 at Smalls.”

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