The title springs from Ellen’s long love affair with the middle of the night. She was raised in the restaurant industry – her parents, Faith Stewart-Gordon and Sidney Kaye, owned and operated The Russian Tea Room, the iconic New York restaurant, for 49 years. “You have no choice but to embrace the nocturnal when you live and breathe the restaurant business,” she says. “When I started singing I was already a night creature. And right after my son Ian was born I loved the private late night world we shared - “Midnight Lullaby" by Tom Waits is all about those moments”.
She loves the restaurant world as much as ever and is opening her own restaurant soon, Moscow 57, which will have a live music component. There will be a great selection of artists performing and Kaye will be among them, singing the songs that she has woven into her repertoire over the past 20 years in some of the top jazz venues in New York.
3 AM is a thematic continuation of her earlier album, 2AM, and the phrase “the dogs, the milkman and me” comes from the Tom Waits’ song, “Saving All My Love For you” - a particular favorite. “I love to sing songs like this one that have been written for men. There is a “Through the Looking Glass” sensation when you sing as a man. It turns everything on its head and I find that deeply interesting” says Kaye.
“It doesn’t get better than Carmichael and Mercer. ‘How Little We Know’ captures the mysterious early days of a love affair, and the strangely existential frame of mind that descends upon you”.
“I started listening to Carly Simon’s ‘Boys in the Trees’ at eighteen. It’s a compelling song that illuminates the complexity of being a woman and how we find ways to live with it.”
Ellen first heard Madeleine Peyroux on Jonathan Schwartz’s radio show and fell in love with her “I’m All Right,” a ruefully funny take on the end of a love affair. “The line about how’s he’s still driving her car makes me laugh every single time I sing it and it’s so much fun to see the people in the audience start grinning too”.
“The lyrics for ‘Doctor My Eyes’ resonate at this point in life for many people. It is an awareness of how much pain and anguish is in the world and a wish to be healed, not just for oneself, but for all of us.”
“Lee Wiley’s recording of a ‘One Hundred Years from Today’ is where I first heard this tune and it’s gorgeous. I’ve always loved it and it was a joy to record.”
“‘Sunny Side of the Street’, which came out at the height of the Great Depression, is just a great tune. It perfectly embodies a terrific way of coping with life’s darker side.”
“With Mary Chapin Carpenter’s ‘Why Walk When You Can Fly’ the title speaks for itself - dream big, be fearless and don’t look back!”
In New York City, Ellen has performed numerous times at The Metropolitan Room and Iridium. She has played a broad range of New York City venues including Carnegie Hall (with the New York Pops), The Mabel Mercer Foundation Annual Celebration at Town Hall, the Angry Squire, Tatou, Surf Reality, Adelaide’s, and at the original Monkey Bar for a year-plus run. Kaye’s voice is frequently heard at numerous other venues in NYC and throughout the Hudson Valley. Ellen hosted The Ellen Kaye Show on WVOX/WRTN radio and performed on WNEW.
Tony Romano has been active in the New York music scene for many years as a guitarist, music director, and teacher. Just Jazz Guitar Magazine wrote “his tone is beautiful and soulful, and his remarkable technique is a servant to his rich musical imagination and broad harmonic palette” (February 2009).
With a wide range of tastes and playing styles, Mr. Romano has performed around the world with diverse artists such as Cleve Douglass at the Blue Note in Japan, and has toured throughout South America and Europe with Latin legend Joe Bataan. In demand as a sideman, Mr. Romano has performed with Randy Brecker, Stanley Jordan, Debbie Gibson, Frank Wright, Dave Valentine, Yomo Toro, Thomas Chapin, Antonio Hart, The Flying Neutrinos and many others. Tony’s special appearances include National Public Radio concert with Duke Ellington band alumni Brit Woodman, Candido, Joya Sherrill, Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr and Barrie Lee Hall, the NBC Today show in New York, Telemundo (New Jersey) and the ABC Morning Show in both Chicago and Atlanta. Tony is adjunct faculty at Five Towns College and Long Island University, as well as a Teaching Artist for the Kupferberg Center at Queens College.
Album Credits: Produced and arranged by Tony Romano
Vocals – Ellen Kaye
Guitars – Tony Romano
Bass – Doug Largent
Drums - Matt Kane
Melodica – Nate Shaw
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Patrick Lo Re/
One Soul Studios, NYC
Art and design: The Root Group/Rina Root; photography: Daniel Root.