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September 02, 2008

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ivan Santiago

Here's another enthusiastic vote for Kay Starr. Most jazz aficionados do not know that she was a favorite of quite a few singinificant jazz musicians, including Cout Basie and Jack Teagarden ... The awful, low-cut pop crap that she recorded in the 1950's has obscured the excellent work that she did in other genres.

She has a fantastic 1975 album titled "Back to the Roots," with a most deceptive cover. The photo on the cover would lead you to assume that it is a country album. Instead, it is a hot jazz date with stellar personnel: George Auld, Monty Budwig, Blue Mitchell, Red Norvo, Jimmy Rowles, Al Viola .... As if that weren't enough, the CD includes some tasty bonus tracks, taken from Kay's appearance in Gene Norman's "Just Jazz" concert series from the late 1940's. (Barney Kessel and Red Callender are among those who accompany Kay in the Norman tracks.)

Another excellent CD of hers is "The Complete Lamplighter Recordings, 1945-1946," which prominently features Barney Bigard.

Ivan

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  • Marc Myers writes on music and the arts for The Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (Univ. of Calif. Press). Founded in 2007, JazzWax was named the 2015 "Blog of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.
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