Marty Elkins is a delightful swing singer who deserves to be better-known. She worked with pianist Dave McKenna when she was attending college in Boston and has been part of the New York jazz scene since the early 1980s. The vocalist worked with trumpet Max Kaminsky and also with the Jimmy Ryan All-Stars but has mostly led local combos through the years. Inspired by Billie Holiday, she has a simple and basic delivery that understates lyrics and always swings lightly no matter what the tempo.
Fat Daddy is Ms. Elkins’ fourth recording for the Nagel-Heyer label which includes Another Life (a set of duets with McKenna), Fuse Blues, and Walkin’ By The River. A rule of thumb in collecting jazz recordings is that if trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso is on the date, get it! He takes his share of lyrical solos throughout this set, performing in a group that includes guitarist James Chirillo (whose tasteful spots are a delight), organist-pianist Joel Diamond, bassist Lee Hudson, drummer Taro Okamoto, and occasionally pianist Steve Ash and Leopoldo Fleming on congas.
But Marty Elkins, even with her soft and soothing tone, is never overshadowed by her sidemen. She puts plenty of quiet feeling into the 14 vintage standards which include among the highlights “How Can You Face Me,” “It’s A Pity To Say Goodnight” (a song that deserves to be performed more often), “Sugar,” “On Revival Day” and “It’s Too Hot For Words.”
While her previous CDs are excellent, Fat Daddy is Marty Elkins’ definitive recording so far and is highly recommended to fans of first-class swing singers.