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This Is New: Teddi King Sings Ira Gershwin

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Album Review

Shortly after her 48th birthday, vocalist Teddi King recorded this duet album with pianist Dave McKenna, and then passed away of complications from Lupus. As a last testament, fans will experience as much joy and satisfaction in hearing this album as they'll also shed tears for her. This collection of standards from the book of lyricist Ira Gershwin has King in good, not optimal form, at times vocally wavering. Even though her shrill voice might not be everyone's cup of tea, she is a consummate storyteller and weaver of lost-love travails. The brilliant McKenna is on his game, striding and swinging these tunes in not much more than medium tempos, he's a proven and well-heeled accompanist, and the program also features (for whatever reason related to King) a handful of his piano solos sans the singer. A perfect 50/50 pleased/melancholy mix of emotions is King's strong suit, heard right off the bat on "Isn't It a Pity?" and the theme carries on to the rueful but childlike wonder of "How Long Has This Been Going On?," the woeful or good luck chance stance of "But Not for Me," and the classic, convincing, somber nay hopeful "My Ship." "Fun to Be Fooled" is a Gershwin tune that someone should dig up and revive, also expressing the yin/yang convoluted side of life that always occurs, but is constantly amended. McKenna's five solo pieces — recorded two months after King had passed on — are beyond compare and reproach, but his deliberate and exaggerated take of "For You, For Me, For Evermore," an arpeggiated and heavily strided "One Life to Live," and the true classic "I Can't Get Started" as only Dave McKenna could do it, all stand out. The recording concludes with "Here's What I'm Here For" as King sings her own coda/epitaph, perhaps likely she might have known it at the time. Recently reissued on CD, this final statement from Teddi King will hopefully lead lovers of vocal jazz to her earlier recordings with Nat Pierce, George Shearing, and Jimmy Rowles, among others. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: September 18, 1929 in Boston, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

No matter how impressive any aspect of Teddi King's career might have been, it is still hard not to be overwhelmed by the mystique of her first-ever live performance as a singing mermaid in a production of Peter Pan. It was the Tributary Theatre of Boston with which she branched off into performing following graduation from high school. Crowned the winner of a singing competition held under the auspices of Dinah Shore, King docked into a touring revue whose responsibilities included cheering up the...
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This Is New: Teddi King Sings Ira Gershwin, Teddi King
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