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Katharine Whalen: Katharine Whalen's Jazz Squad

AAJ Staff By

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After six years as a featured vocalist for the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Katharine Whalen launches her solo career with this CD, which finds her backed by her own band, the Jazz Squad. While the Zippers were never a hardcore jazz act—a lot of their music was jump blues and early R&B with a pop outlook—this is essentially a jazz recording. But it isn¹t a very good one, and most of the time, Whalen comes across as a poor woman¹s Billie Holiday. Interpretations of ³That Old Feeling,² ³Yesterdays² and other standards recall Lady Day¹s work of the 1930s and 1940s, but minus her charm, substance and imagination. There¹s nothing wrong with being greatly influenced by Holiday—numerous singers were—but it¹s important to establish your own identity, and Whalen makes no effort to do that. With so much of Holiday's classic output available on CD, listeners would do well to pass on Whalen's amateurish solo debut and spend their hard-earned cash on such Lady Day collections as Lady's Decca Days, Volumes 1 and 2 from MCA or 16 Most Requested Songs, Love Songs and The Quintessential Billie Holiday, Volumes 8-9 from Columbia.

| Record Label: Mammoth Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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