Saturday, June 23, 2012
She's the Kats Pajamas!
What a wonder Kat Edmonson is. Not yet out of her twenties, she has forged a sound that is unique while it skims the surface of a boatload of musical references. After a few notes of hearing her, you'll immediately think Blossom Dearie. But other singers will come to mind as you continue to listen. Here's how Nate Chinen put it in The New York Times.
Trawling for a current reference point, you might come up with Madeleine Peyroux or Melody Gardot, or the softer side of Nellie McKay. Looking further back, you’d probably land on Blossom Dearie, who sang in the same girlish register as Ms. Edmonson, with a similar timbre and sublimated wit...
The singer relates in her biography that Nina Simone is a primary influence. One can hear Simone in the way that she leaps vocally from a light girlish tone to a full-bodied lower register to end a phrase.
Her sophomore release, Way Down Low, has brought her much attention, especially from NPR and Steve Greenlee of The Boston Globe, who calls the album "one of the greatest vocal albums I've ever heard." Here's more of his gushing.
...after listening to “Way Down Low” several dozen times over the past couple of months and never tiring of a single song on it, I say this with confidence: If Kat Edmonson were singing in the 1940s or ’50s, her name would be mentioned alongside those of Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Julie London, and Anita O’Day — maybe even Billie Holiday.