BWW Review: Triumphant CD Release Concert FOR MY FOLKS by Jean Louisa Kelly

BWW Review: Triumphant CD Release Concert FOR MY FOLKS by Jean Louisa Kelly

It baffles me when singers have a CD release party and then sing everything except the contents of the album. Even worse is not bothering to share with the audience the deep need to record it. And then they expect you to buy it! Go figure! Such was not the case at the Federal in NoHo for the solo concert debut of beautiful singer/actress Jean Louisa Kelly who literally sang the entire CD minus one song* and devoted the concert to her parents, husband and two children. Kelly is a joy to look at and has a wonderfully full and powerful vocal instrument that she uses to perfection. It doesn't hurt that all of your arrangements are composed by the brilliant Todd Schroeder who also served as musical director at the piano for the show that ran just under an hour at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal Sunday night October 22 to a packed house of adoring fans.

BWW Review: Triumphant CD Release Concert FOR MY FOLKS by Jean Louisa Kelly

Kelly's CD is titled For My Folks because she recorded standards from the Great American Songbook for her parents who taught her the value of music from a very early age when she grew up in Massachusetts. Her mother, who was a piano teacher, became her coach, and her father was an English teacher. Both were exceedingly supportive of Jean's career. Her voice is so adaptable to the fine old standards that we have come to love so much. She can bring it down to a soft lightweight delivery for Rodgers' and Hammerstein's gorgeous "If I Loved You" or bring it up to full volume and thrust for Ira Gershwin's and Harold Arlen's "The Man That Got Away". It takes great acting talent to interpret each song as a separate entity, and tremendous range. She renders "It Had to Be You" and then switches effortlessly to the upper registers with "Soon It's Gonna Rain" from The Fantasticks or the lilting "Someone to Watch Over Me" which she sang in the popular 1995 film "Mr. Holland's Opus".

BWW Review: Triumphant CD Release Concert FOR MY FOLKS by Jean Louisa Kelly

Other highlights of the evening included: Rodgers' and Hart's haunting "Where or When", the fast paced and delightfully singable "For Me and My Gal" which she nicely dueted with special guest star TV's Jere Burns, and a lovely "As Time Goes By". Her dad, who was in the audience, had sung this song over the phone, she taped it, and on the CD she uses it to essay a sort of duet with him. She quipped to the audience, "Talk about phoning it in!" Her dad also requested that she do "Danny Boy" on the CD to hail their Irish roots. It was a lovely rendition live, as was her poignant finale "Some Other Time", the last line of which she effectively substituted time goes by.

Along with Todd Schroeder at the piano, terrific musicians Tim Christensen was on bass, Otis Hayes III, on drums and Tony Mandracchia on guitar...the very same guys who backed her so skillfully in the studio recording of the CD.

BWW Review: Triumphant CD Release Concert FOR MY FOLKS by Jean Louisa Kelly

Todd Schroeder with Kelly

Don't miss Jean Louisa Kelly whenever and wherever she performs. Her beauty, warmth and superb voice will enchant you. She's a class act.

* Also on the CD is a fabulous rendition of "Singin' In the Rain". To purchase the CD, go to:

(photo credit: Stan Mazin, except pic at very top)

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From This Author Don Grigware

Don Grigware is an Ovation nominated actor and journalist/writer whose contributions to theatre through the years have included 6 years as theatre editor of NoHoLA, (read more...)

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