Second Stage: Kat Edmonson

Download "Summertime" by Kat Edmonson (Right-click or ctrl-click to download and save to your computer.)

I'm admittedly dubious when it comes to singers who cover well-worn jazz songs. How many versions of "Body and Soul" or "Stardust" do we really need? But when I heard Take to the Sky, a new collection of jazz standards and pop-song covers from Austin-based singer Kat Edmonson, I was immediately taken by its unusually novel arrangements. The songs are still rooted in traditional jazz instrumentation and patterns, so it's not like they're wildly experimental. But Edmonson and the gifted and inspired musicians in her backing band rework the songs enough to make them sound entirely fresh. Take to the Sky includes cuts like Cole Porter's "Night and Day" and the Johnny Mercer-Henry Mancini song "Charade," but also features a gorgeous, smoky version of John Lennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Carole King's "One Fine Day."

Like most of the CDs I listen to, I popped Take to the Sky in my computer without checking the liner notes or track listings, to avoid any preconceived notions of what to expect. This opening song is so beautifully re-imagined, I didn't even recognize it, at first, as one of the most covered songs around: Gershwin's "Summertime."

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