On her third album, and first for her own Doxie Records imprint through E1 Music, the bold, sassy, and sexy young chanteuse Robin McKelle comes into her own. Mess Around marks a significant stylistic change for the irrepressible Ms. McKelle, as she fully embraces her love for R&B, delivering a program that brings in the influences of Etta James, Ray Charles, and early Bette Midler to shape a driving horn-driven sound that sets off Robin's dynamic voice in a whole new way. To underscore this natural but fresh progression of direction, Robin enlists funk legend FRED WESLEY as arranger on a couple of cuts: an unexpected take of the Bee Gees' "I Can't See Nobody" and Doc Pomus' blues evergreen, "Lonely Avenue." McKelle is aly well-known for her creative choices of cover tunes, bringing the contemporary songbook into jazz focus, and Mess Around doesn't disappoint in this respect. In addition to Pomus and the Brothers Gibb, Leonard Cohen, Willie Dixon, and Lennon/McCartney all get selected tunes transformed into the new McKelle sound. Add in a vintage standard ("Cry Me River") and four originals of striking maturity, and you have an 11-track collection that rocks, rolls, flirts, and seduces with maximum impact. Supporting all of this is Robin's live show, which brings together an awesome musical tightness with a sense of humor and show-womanship hardly ever seen in today's super-serious jazz world. Aly a mega-star in France, where she's signed to Sony Music, McKelle is gaining more and more fans in the U. S. week by week.
One listen to Mess Around will tell you why.
- Release 5/4/2010