SALUTE TO ANDY BEY
HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR.
of michigan in the house of representatives
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, as Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus,
and Chairman of the Jazz Forum and Concert, which occurs during
our Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference, I rise today to
salute the lifetime achievements of one of the most distinguished
artists in American music history, Andy Bey. Earlier this year,
Bey was named the Jazz Journalist Association's 2004 Male Vocalist
of the year.
The following biography, found on Bey's own web page, chronicles
a career of accomplishment deserving of such high recognition,
and of this body's thoughtful attention and respect:
Born in 1939, the Newark, NJ native was a genuine child prodigy
as a pianist and singer, garnering appearances at the famed Apollo
Theater and on television's Spotlight On Harlem and The Star Time
Kids, sharing stages with the likes of Louis Jordan, Sarah Vaughan
and Dinah Washington, before he turned 18. He then formed a vocal
trio alongside his sisters Salome and Geraldine and embarked for
Europe; Andy & The Bey Sisters were celebrated regulars at
The Blue Note in Paris and other venues in Europe from the late
1950s into the early 1960s, when they returned to the U.S. and
continued to perform and record (for RCA and Prestige) until the
trio disbanded in 1966.
For the two decades thereafter, Bey recorded and performed with
such notables as McCoy Tyner, Lonnie Liston Smith, Thad Jones/Mel
Lewis, Eddie Harris and others. He was featured vocalist on Gary
Bartz's acclaimed Harlem Bush Music projects and for an extended
period with Horace Silver, including Silver's The United States
of Mind album sequence. In 1991, Bey returned to Europe to teach
vocal instruction in Austria; he remained there until 1993, when
he returned to the States to record his ``comeback album,'' accompanied
only by his own piano, called Ballads, Blues & Bey.
One of the great unsung heroes of jazz singing, Andy Bey is a
commanding interpreter of lyrics who has a wide vocal range and
a big, rich, full voice. Bey enjoys a following that swears by
him; nonetheless, he isn't nearly as well known as he should be.
The release of Ballads, Blues & Bey in 1996, and his subsequent
Shades of Bey, recorded with Bartz, Victor Lewis, Peter Washington
and other jazz notables and released in 1998, heralded Bey's ``renaissance''
in the business he's been in for nearly five decades. Which leaves
Bey somewhat bemused: ``I never went away, actually. I don't know
about this renaissance. `` It's . . . well, it's new in a sense,
but it's not like I left the business.''
Bey has continued to make his presence felt in the jazz arena
with the release of Tuesday's in Chinatown in 2001, and his latest
outing earlier this year on Savoy entitled American Song.