Very little is known about the short, tragic life of this remarkable jazz singer. While there are a couple mentions of her being fun and outgoing, most of her friends described her as sad, melancholy, always in some kind of pain and "afraid of everything".
Her voice and style, however, belied that description. She was praised by critics and singers alike and, to this day, her recordings can still draw a listener in with the warmth of her tone, the effortless grace of her phrasing and her fearlessness with a melody.
I have attempted to gather all the known information I could, including poring over hundreds of newspapers from the 1950s. I'm hoping this page can be a gathering place for any available information and that it can not only help to introduce her to a new generation of fans but also serve to tell her story. If you have any additional information, photos or content, please submit them using the button below. - Tony Guerrero
"It looks as if finally, a new voice of unmistakable jazz quality has appeared to take its place beside those of Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald … Beverly is beginning to arrive and she is displaying the kind of ability and potential that should enable her to stay a long time.”
- Barry Ulanov, Downbeat Magazine
“(Kenney is) more flexible than Helen Merrill, swings more easily than Teddi King, and her musicianship and care for lyrics are far superior to Chris Connor’s.”
- Jazz Critic Nat Hentoff
”Looks to me that 1957 will really be her year. I dig her because, well, she phrases like mad. She sings in tune, too; matter of fact, she sings like a musician."
- Julie London, Singer
”A word to playboys: I would not recommend this album as Music to Make the Romantic Approach By. You're apt to get more interested in Beverly than the girl you're trying to impress.”
- Steve Allen’s liner notes to
“Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys”
"...could be tomorrow's big name.”
- Allan Gilbert, Jr., Editor
“She was probably the pluperfect example of the very first major singer who came along just five seconds too late ...(a victim of) the tsunami of rock and roll..."
- Bill Reed, Writer
“She’s a top bet for jazz rooms, there the crowds will go for her looks as well as her vocals”
- Variety, 1956
"...the kind of ability and potential that should enable her to stay a long time”
- Down Beat, 1955