The Jazz.com Blog
September 10, 2009 · 0 comments
Kat Edmondson sings with ingenue sex appeal and emotional sophistication, which was shown off to best advantage in John Lennon's "Just Like Starting Over," taken as a lyrical ballad and arranged by pianist Kevin Lovejoy. Her band does solid work, with excellent bass intonation by Danton Boller, especially the ending cadenza of Carole King's "You're Gonna Want Me for Your Girl,” and soulful, bluesy solo playing by John Ellis on sax. Chris Lovejoy adds good colors on percussion in tunes where drummer J.J. Johnson lays down steady grooves.
Several of Edmondson's arrangements, however, use "creative" reharmonizations in which melodic and harmonic forms of songs are often gutted, using the model of "trance music." They seem to be recreating an electronically enhanced sound with an acoustic band. Even Edmondson's voice has a metallic, almost other-worldly, timbre and a matte delivery that one could imagine in electronic music.
Edmondson's band, which can play on changes, has been informed by a sampling-electronic mentality which tends to dumb down the songs it presents. This was the case in the majority of their selections: "Summertime"—which droned on; two Cole Porter standards; and an impressionist, noir take on "Angel Eyes." "My Funny Valentine" became a hip-hop "My Funky Valentine, " and "Charade" slid by over a slow conga groove. Not to fault the band for trying to innovate, but the changes in a chord progression are needed to define and develop the relationship of harmony and melody, and lyrics, and the composers of these songs knew that. Hopefully, this will not be a widening trend in jazz.
This blog entry posted by Roanna Forman. For links to the rest of Forman’s coverage of the festival, click here.