Review: Nellie McKay

Nellie McKay
“Get Away from Me”
(Columbia Records)

Nellie McKay is a nineteen-year-old jazz-pop genius with talent much beyond her years.  Full of adult, colorful language and a swinging hot jazz vibe, her piano tunes are the hippest, wittiest jazz to show up on a major label in too long.  Much has been made of the fact that McKay can stretch her sound spectrum to even include hip-hop, but note this: her fairly sophisticated music is not overly spiced with that overpowering flavor.  What cannot be understated is that she has true songwriting, jazz singing and piano playing talent.  This skill and style allows her eclecticism to transcend novelty and her cunning wit to rise above cheap humor.  Dig this album now or see it in six months on the Best of 2004 lists and wonder why you never got around to buying it.