Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Katharine Whalen's Jazz Squad
Genres: Alternative Rock, Jazz, Pop, Rock
With the Squirrel Nut Zippers, banjo diva Katharine Whalen specializes in new songs you'd swear you've heard before. Her first solo album, Jazz Squad flips that formula on its head, dressing up old favorites in fancy new d... more »
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With the Squirrel Nut Zippers, banjo diva Katharine Whalen specializes in new songs you'd swear you've heard before. Her first solo album, Jazz Squad flips that formula on its head, dressing up old favorites in fancy new duds. Records like this invariably stand or fall on their vibe and feel, so the key question is: Does it swing? Would it sound right after-hours in a bar, after the mice have scattered for home and the jazz cats have come in to play? The answer is an emphatic yes. Though not an overpowering vocalist, Whalen demonstrates impeccable taste and timing. She's playful on the bouncy "Deed I Do," sultry on "There Is No Greater Love," sassy on "Now or Never," and crafty all over, gliding from song to song with an elegance that appears almost effortless. Most of the selections date from between the World Wars, with one new ringer ("Badisma," an instrumental penned by husband and Zippers guitarist Jimbo Mathus). The backup, a fine quintet featuring three other moonlighting Zippers, is executed as flawlessly as the musicology. Jazz Squad certainly doesn't discourage comparisons to Billie Holiday; it also conjures up memories of Chet Baker's languid vocals and Blossom Dearie's cabaret croon. Yet Jazz Squad is less musty revivalism than the best kind of nostalgia. Death may start in your record collection, but you'd never know it from this. --David Menconi
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A Great Album from One Of The Sexiest Voices Alive!
Ryan Costantino | Nowhere, Special | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I fell in love with Katharine Whalen's vocal style after hearing her sweet voice on the Squirrel Nut Zipper albums "The Inevitable"and "Hot". And reading the history of how she started singing with that band was amazing. So when I heard she was releasing a solo album I immediately purchased it. A very smart buy on my part. Personally I think Ms. Whalen is a virtual energy bar for the jazz scene, revitalizing the old style that made Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald household names. Bottom line is that if you call yourself a fan of swing/traditional jazz pick this album up, pop it in your cd player and allow yourself to become immersed in the sexy and sincere world of Katharine Whalen!"
Not just a side project, but a timeless, STELLAR production!
The Blue Raja | MD, USA | 03/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The bar closed an hour ago... as the broom sweeps up sorrows, a soothing voice from the stage gives warmth to the last soul around. Or maybe the scene involves sitting on the porch viewing the last light of the sun on a hot summer day. Perhaps its laying on the couch after a long day with the kids. Or lastly, you want a slow romantic groove for your special companion to sway with by candle light. At any case, Katharine Whalen's Jazz Squad is the perfect solution for any background music occasion. Yet "background music" may seem insulting. Perhaps that is the very magic behind this x-Zippers jem. Whalen's soothing tones manage to stay in the back, but pierce your soul with emotion. With songs dating back from the 1920s ("Deed I do") even up to modern times (Mathus-written tune "Badisma"), there is a cohesiveness of passion that is spelled J-A-Z-Z! Whalen's voice, even from the Squirrel Nut days captures an era for old-timers and newcomers to enjoy. If you liked the Zippers, yes, you'll like Katharine's Jazz squad. However this album puts the lid on it a bit more, having a slightly moodier, reserved feel than raising "Hell." Sample the tracks on line if you can & be the judge, I certainly have NO regrets purchasing the album!"
A heavy dose of the best part of the Zippers
Ryan Costantino | 12/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you enjoy the Squirrel Nut Zippers for their fast paced radio hits (i.e. Hell), this album may not be to your liking. However, if you are like me and take greater pleasure in their slower songs, particularly those sung by Katharine Whalen, then this album will more than satiate you appetite for her mellow voice and soothing tunes.
Whalen makes the right decision to create her own sound on this album, rather than re-create the sounds from the Squirrel Nut Zippers records. The banjo is put away and the dixie land tones take a back seat to smoky Bourbon Street style jazz, the kind you might listen to late at night when the bar is empty and the partying is over.
I thoroughly enjoy the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and my favorite songs are the ones sung by Katharine. This album provides a double treat: a sound different enough from the Zippers to not sound like another Zippers album, and a full catalog of nothing but Katherine."