"Tea For Two"
From the album
Beverly Kenney "Tea For Two" (lo bitrate)
1950’s lady jazz vocalist Beverly Kenney looked like she had it all going for her. She had performed with many of the jazz greats of her day, and was even part of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra for a time. The musicians and artists in New York City’s Greenwich Village scene respected her musical talent, and jazz fans from the period perceived her to be an heir apparent to Billie Holiday. She had even appeared on national television, rounding out a May 18, 1958 episode of The Steve Allen Show. But on the evening of April 13, 1960, this promising and lovable vocalist committed suicide by ingesting a lethal mixture of Seconal and alcohol. She was only 28 years old.
To this day, jazz enthusiasts still ask amongst themselves: why did she do it? It’s a question that we still don’t have a complete answer to. What we do have is a body of recordings that provide a whole new way to hear the vocal jazz genre. Her masterpiece is Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys (1958), an almost perfect, heart-wrenching album that everyone who loves Vintage music needs to own. Also fantastic is its melancholy orchestral followup, Born to Be Blue (1958).
Beverly still has a strong following in Japan, where all six of her LP’s have consistently stayed in print. The Japanese demand for more Beverly Kenney has even resulted in several anthologies of rare BK recordings there. Our song, “Tea For Two,” is the opening track of one of those anthologies. The compilation is entitled Snuggled on Your Shoulder (2006), and was recently reissued in the US as an expanded version with another four unreleased tracks. This US release of Snuggled on Your Shoulder is available from CD Baby, and the original Japanese edition is available from Eastwindimport.com or CDBanq.com. The Japanese version is a mini-LP CD with fantastic artwork, whereas the US release is a small-run CD-R but has the addition of four bonus tracks taken from some newly-discovered radio performances, so pick your poison. Just be forewarned that after listening to Beverly Kenney, you may never be able to hear vocal jazz the same way again.
Beverly Kenney Discography:
Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith (Roost Records, 1955)
“Surrey with the Fringe on Top” b/w “This Little Town in Paris” (Royal Roost, 1956) (both tracks are on Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith)
Come Swing With Me (Roost Records, 1956)
Beverly Kenney with Jimmy Jones and the Basie-ites (Roost Records, 1957)
Beverly Kenney Sings For Playboys (Decca Records, 1958)
"The Magic Touch" b/w "Your Love is My Love" (Decca Records, 1958) (non-LP single; both tracks are unavailable elsewhere)
Born to Be Blue (Decca Records, 1959)
Like Yesterday (Decca Records, 1959)
Snuggled On Your Shoulder (SSJ Records [Japan], 2006; reissued with four bonus tracks by Cellar Door Records [USA], 2010)
Lonely and Blue (SSJ Records [Japan], 2007)
What Is There To Say? (SSJ Records [Japan], 2009)
Various Artists: My Silent Love (Capitol [Japan], 1991)
Features "Violets For My Furs" from Come Swing With Me
Various Artists: The Great Jazz Vocalists Sing The Gershwin Songbook (Capitol Jazz, 1992)
Features "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Come Swing With Me
Various Artists: When Love Goes Wrong: Songs For the Broken Hearted (Verve Records, 2003)
Also Released as Jazz For Broken Hearts on Jazz Club/Verve [Germany] in 2007 with different artwork
Features "A Woman's Intuition" from Beverly Kenney Sings For Playboys
Various Artists: Singin', Swingin', Jazzin (SSJ Records [Japan], 2008)
Features "Lonely and Blue" from Lonely and Blue and "There Will Never Be Another You" from Snuggled n Your Shoulder