A SALUTE TO ANDY BEY
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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.