Jazz Vocals

Bey Family Sounds


Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters, Salome and Geraldine, forged a distinctive vocal sound in the '60s by filtering standards through a gospel-tinged prism and that sound is abundant on a new Rudy Van Gelder remaster of Round Midnight (available Aug. 7). Around the time of these recordings, the group spent most of their time in Europe, touring and making regular appearances at the Blue Note in Paris. From the opening cut, a medley of "Love Is Just Around The Corner," "I Love You" and "Love You Madly," the Bey's harmonies recall the sort of hollow shape-note harmonies of the Deep South.

Floating sonically somewhere between the urban sophistication of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and the subtle soul of the Staples, this reissue is a tribute to the unique space the Beys carved out for themselves. Anyone familiar with the early recordings of the Pointer Sisters will recognize the debt they owe the Beys. Speaking of the Pointers and the Staples, when family members sing together there is a special blend due to the genetic similarities of their voices that can't be duplicated by vocalists who are unrelated. Add identical accents and similar musical backgrounds and you have a natural mesh of tonalities in the Beys' sound that fuses seamlessly into one harmonious whole.