Vocalist Kelley Johnson chooses songs that are golden, with lyrics that sparkle like diamonds. She opens with a Stephen Sondheim composition, "Anyone Can Whistle." The whistle ballad turns into a scat, and Ms. Johnson shows how smoothly she can transition from storyteller to jazzy scat singer. Surprisingly, she does know how to whistle and blows a little whistle on the fade of this song. Another plus is that Kelley Johnson knows how to swing. That's such an important characteristic of a jazz singer and Kelley shows off this skill on "You Do Something To Me," slow-swinging her way through this tune and creatively improvising the melody, stretching her vocals rubber-band taut to reach unexpected intervals, like a human horn. She applies her jazz sensibilities throughout a tour of standard jazz songs like "Some Other Time", "Let's Do it," and the Richard Rodgers' popular "Something Good," composition. There are some gems that were not that familiar to me like "Tip-Toe Gently" by Matt Matthews and Paulette Girard and "You For Me" by Bob Haymes.
John Hansen is a joy on piano and expertly accompanies Kelley Johnson, as well as co-arranging most of the music. He's a fabulous player and musical director. Their blend is tasty, like ice cream and cake; sweet and very cool. This is a project packed with great songs delivered fluidly by Kelley Johnson and her all-star band.