I identify a singer by how well they understand music and by their understanding of what they're singing.... The singer's interpretation is their "style", and to achieve this style is difficult, probably the most difficult thing to achieve, but in the end it is what no artist should ignore.
Judith Kay has style. As part of the new crop of American singers, she goes from jazz to the great American popular songs, those [now] classic standards which came from legendary writers like Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, and so many more.
But Judith, along with contemporaries like Denise Montana, Gina Roché and Gloria Yousha, also has a way with Brazilian music. The names Jobim, Billy Blanco and Edu Lobo, among others, show up on the musical menu of Ms. Kay.
Her repertoire, which is eclectic without seeming disparate, is not subject to current musical fad; but includes everything from American [jazz] classics to Brazilian [bossa nova]. Singing in Portuguese with an almost perfect pronunciation, Judith places her personal mark on gems of Brazilian balladry like Billy Blanco's "Praça Mauá". "Chega de Saudade", which together with "Desafinado", [both by Jobim] are probably considered the two quintessential bossa novas, has in Judith Kay's rendition, one of the foremost interpretations.
Moreover, not only is Judith Kay a fine singer, but she is a magnificent instrumentalist, a consummate guitarist.
All that you need to verify the aforementioned virtues of Judith Kay can be found in the five recordings made to present, and in this one, "Judith Kay - Even More - Her Voice, Her Guitar" (the companion disc to "Judith Kay - Her Voice, Her Guitar Vol. 2"). Hearing is believing. Good listening to all.
by João da Penha
Journalist and music critic, philosophy scholar; author of "O Que é Existencialismo", "Períodos Filosóficos" and "Wittgenstein", contributor to various Brazilian cultural publications, and "Jazz & Bossa Nova" radio show host, Rio de Janeiro. He is currently completing a book on the art of vocal jazz.