From her performances around New York City and throughout the United States to her latest singles and full studio albums (Songs Spun of Gold, Something Still Cool), Elli Fordyce turns heads—and moves the pens of reviewers—wherever she goes. The following are just some of the great things people have said about Elli as both a singer and an actor. Get the latest Elli Fordyce news here.
Elli Fordyce: Press
Wonderful feature by my favorite Twitter Buddy:
I'm so happy to share this wonderful feature by one of my favorite Twitter buddies, jazz-DJ and -writer, Curtis Davenport (aka @curtjazz). I can't say enough about the support Curt's given my music over the years and this is a great addition: http://curtjazz.com/2013/10/23/a-song-that-always-picks-me-up/.
Jazz Singer Elli Fordyce and the Musical Advantages of Social Networking
Today, I continue this series by listening to five tracks by Elli Fordyce, a jazz singer (and actor) from New York State who has performed across North America, and whose two albums (Songs Spun of Gold & Something STILL Cool with Jim Malloy) are available for sale on CDBaby.
Fordyce's music successfully balances the past and the present, and coolness with exuberance. Her vocal performances bridge the old and the new: demonstrating a deep respect for traditional vocal jazz, without sounding at all dated. Indeed, her songs evoke visions of smokey 1950s jazz clubs, while simultaneously sounding modern and refreshing. Yet her music never sounds overly glossy. For someone like me, whose jazz listening has remained mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, her music offered a warm welcome to the world of more modern jazz artists. What's more, the tracks had a laid back quality, while maintaining a strong sense of optimism and joy.
"An up-and-comer and a came back-er came up back-to-back, sharing a bill one night of the Iridium’s all-female Jazz Vocalists Festival. Brimming with youthful, sunshiney sass and a refreshing sense of joy and fun, Suzanne Peebles has a running start; Elli Fordyce, who began decades ago but took lengthy intermissions, returned a couple of years ago and can bring a lifetime of wisdom to lyrics and jazz-honed skills to make standards swing or glow at low flame. Pianist for both ladies, Barry Levitt, and his combo adapted adeptly, serving musical fresh lemonade and fine wine, respectively and respectfully."
"Let’s face it; it’s hard to not be impressed with Elli Fordyce. At 72, most artists consider themselves to be in the winter of their careers, content to reflect. If they are performing at all, those performances will usually take on the air of a well-earned valedictory. Instead, Ms. Fordyce and her career are in the midst of a life affirming springtime. Two years ago, she released her first CD, Something Still Cool, to very positive response from jazz fans and press. Now, she has returned with her second release, Songs Spun of Gold."
[Note: Curtis's review was printed in the following issue of Jazz Inside's national quarterly.]
Songs Spun of Gold ...
reviewed by Mark Saleski in jazz.com
Elli is evocative and relevant, inspired and inspiring. Lighthearted on the upbeat “Pick Yourself Up,” and the duet with Jim Malloy on Louis and Ella’s, “Oops!,” Elli waxes philosophical on the Broadway classic, “Where Am I Going?,“ and personalizes gems like “I’ll Remember April,” all with her subtle sense of swing.
Songs Spun of Gold, Elli Fordyce.
Fordyce is an on-and-off-again singer. Her career has been stalled by family, a bad car accident and personal issues, but at 72 she is back and singing to make up for lost time. She has an engaging voice, with a tinge of age to tell of her experiences. Her easygoing style is easy to like, especially on the laid-back bossa delivery of “Desafinado,” and the plaintive ballad “Softly, As I Leave You.” She has a theatrical sense of timing, sounding at times as though she is on stage performing to an Off-Broadway audience, which at times is endearing and other times a bit over the top. Her voice occasionally wavers as well, but never veers far enough to be distracting. The song choices are mostly safe and familiar, letting her loosen up and enjoy her singing, even doing a decent job scatting on “Pick Yourself Up.” The duo with Jim Malloy on “Oops” is playful and fun, but the relaxed nature of the song goes into the campy category. Fordyce is a talent who may deserve some recognition, but this isn’t a ringing endorsement.
Elli Fordyce's Something Still Cool evokes an era when, if you shook a tree, several female jazz singers would fall out. The preponderance and preference for cool woman singers in the 1950s is the raison d'être that has eluded Fordyce over a multi-decade series of misfortunes that have only made this debut album available now.
What do Grandma Moses, Nancy Pelosi and Elli Fordyce have in common? And who is Elli Fordyce?
All three women achieved career success later in life. Grandma Moses began painting at 67. Speaker of the House Pelosi entered politics at 47. And Elli Fordyce, who has been performing as a singer and actress in films and television for just over five decades, has just released her first CD, Something Still Cool, at 71.
Vocalist Elli Fordyce's performing career has been interrupted twice, once by getting married to raise a family, the second time for 15 years after a major car wreck while traveling with her band. What's surprising is that she was around seventy years old at the time of these recording sessions, yet she sounds much younger. Having studied improvisation with Connie Crothers and being in pianist Barry Harris's vocal workshop, Fordyce has developed a subtle style that draws from June Christy and other cool singers of the 1950s.
72-years-young Elli Fordyce rediscovered her jazz vocal career last year with "Something Still Cool" (see our review here), and fans of cabaret jazz can be glad she did. Continuing her musical rebirth with "Songs Spun of Gold," Fordyce continues to grow as a singer as she takes on a great selection of great American show tunes and standards. Equally at home with up tempo numbers like "Let's Get Lost" and "Pick Yourself Up," as with ballads, she brings the gravitas of experience to her vocals. She really shines on a heartfelt section that includes "Softly as I Leave You," "A Child is Born/Waltz for Debby," and "Where Do You Start?," as well as a stellar version of "In the Wee Small Hours." A must for fans of vocal jazz, this release is indeed spun of gold. [Click below for rest of Brad Walseth's review.]
Singer Elli Fordyce's debut Something Still Cool (EF Music) took its time in getting released (the basic tracks were laid down in 1999). At 70 years old, this vocalist clearly isn't in a hurry, and on Cool she takes us on a leisurely ride through a comfortable play list: "When Sunny Gets Blue," "Love Is Here It Stay," "One Note Samba," "It Could Happen To You," and nine others. Proving it's never too late to follow your dreams, Fordyce sings forthrightly with a hint of Anita O'Day and Peggy Lee in her voice. But if Fordyce's voice lacks the elasticity of a younger singer, she compensates with a deeply felt passion for the songs she performs. Surrounding herself with friends like pianist Harry Whitaker and Joe Magnarelli on flugelhorn, Fordyce also invites singer Jim Malloy to duet on a number of tunes and their repartee is charming. Fordyce, who claims her roots are in '50s jazz, should be proud of her first recording because it swings in all the right places. Better still, Something Still Cool has a plainspoken, late-night elegance and that seems to be the point - simple is sometimes better. And from Nick's follow-up email after Elli thanked him for his review: As a "jazz critic," I get to hear dozens of releases a year from jazz singers and other musicians but your CD struck me as something special and I'm looking forward to your next one. Best regards and continued success.
Songs Spun of Gold reviewed by Fritz the Nite Owl
Elli Fordyce doesn’t rush into things. A veteran and respected jazz singer in cabarets, and actor in theatre, film, and TV (with career-interruptions here and there, ie: an auto/truck accident, recovery, family concerns, etc.), she finally got around to recording her first CD last year, at age 72. Its incredible popularity led to this CD in which she combines all of her formidable talents to bring fresh warmth, swing, style, and artistic jazz sensitivity to 17 “songs spun of gold.”
The introspective longing she evokes on “Wee Small Hours” is as evocative, intimate and lonely as an Edward Hopper painting, counterbalanced perfectly by the optimism, verve, and swing of “Pick Yourself Up.” Her captivating voice, jazz sensibilities and interpretations, wide variety of tunes, and superb support from her musicians make Fordyce a formidable force in the front rank of jazz vocalists today. For more info on this sensational septuagenarian-singer-swinger.
I’m old enough to remember a day when to hear “Something Cool,” you had to dig out June Christy’s LP of the same name. And for a good number of years that remained true, as I guess there was some sort of tacit understanding in the vocalist community that the song pretty much belonged to her. Not so any more. Recordings of “Cool” abound: Cheryl Bentyne, Dardanelle, Julie London, Stephanie Nakasian, Tierney Sutton, Felicia Sanders, Julie Kelly, Eileen Farrell and—even—Judy Garland are just a few of the singers whose recorded versions are out there.
Elli Fordyce with Jim Malloy: "Something Still Cool" (1999-2006 , EF Music): Fordyce is a singer based in NY, b. 1937, with her first album.... She likes the cool jazz of the 1950s, explaining that she hired trumpeter Joe Magnarelli for his fondness for Chet Baker. Malloy ... has an album of mostly 1950s bop standards called "Jazz Vocalist." He appears in duets on 5 songs, and they make a nice pair.... Good liner notes; solid craftsmanship. B+(*)"
" ... Elli has a very attractive style, putting a lot of feeling into the lyrics she interprets while always swinging; her phrasing is quite infectious ... including five charming vocal duets with Jim Malloy, ... Her versions of such songs as 'When Sunny Gets Blue,' 'Don't Blame Me,' 'It Could Happen To You,' a touching 'Something Cool' and her duet with Malloy on 'Almost Like Being In Love' are among the highlights although every selection has much to offer.... Elli has her own sound and approach, making each song sound like her own."
[Scott Yanow is the author of Jazz On Film, Jazz On Record 1917-76, Trumpet Kings, et al]
"Lovely Lady, There are moments in time when, if we are lucky, we are given the opportunity to recognize a person with an elan, panache and joi de vivre that is 'heads above the maddening crowd, and, when I saw your pretty, preserved, angelic, savvy face and that you are 70, it blew my mind ... but, when I listened to you just levitating and swinging in that hip, jive way, I knew, Elli, that you are NOW and bring Yesterday to people that forgot they would ever hear magic except on a record or a CD. So, with that said, 'you hit the spot like a cool mint julep on an August night' and I will be returning to listen as I approach my 70th birthday on April 16 .. if and when you see Barry Harris give him a hug, give him a smile and tell him he is magic for recognizing your God-given talent. With that said, 'amen.'"
"ELLI FORDYCE/Something Still Cool: Talk about back in the day, Fordyce used to pal around with Bobby Darin. If she wants to make a back-in-the-day album, just get out of her way. Casting herself in a classic jazz vocal mode with a bunch of largely cool-school back-in-the-day tunes, this recalls an era from when 'diva' didn't mean spoiled brat -- at least in public. Equal parts classy, sassy and soulful, jazz vocal fans with a taste for a lite but real journey through the past will have a good time here."
An overnight sensation at age 70, singer Elli Fordyce has released "Something Still Cool," a collection of standards sung by Fordyce with a backing from Harry Whitaker (and David Epstein on two cuts) on piano, Mark Wade on bass, Joe Strasser on drums, Samuel Torres on percussion and Joe Magnarelli on trumpet. Additionally, vocalist Jim Malloy joins the fun on five of the tunes. [See link below for more.]
THE BATTERY PARK CITY BROADSHEET
In the ’50s, Battery Park City chanteuse Elli Fordyce used to cut classes at Bronx High School of Science with her buddy Bobby Darin, of Mack the Knife fame. Juvenile delinquents? Hardly. The pair were desperate only to hang out in the music room. More than 50 years later, having left and returned to a musical career twice, Elli Fordyce is back on the scene, proud to be promoting her new jazz CD, Still Something Cool, and proud to be 70.
[Scroll down to second page in the link below for the whole article.]