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Legal At Any Age

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Album Review

A late bloomer, Edmonia Jarrett came to jazz at the age of 57. Legal at any Age is her second album. Her first, Live, Live, Live, also done for MNOP, was released in 1997. At first hearing, the listener may be taken aback by Jarrett's voice This is not the sweet, pure sounding voice of a dreamy chanteuse. Instead, Jarrett's low, sort of rough vibrato displays life's experiences on the vocal chords, much like Carmen McRae toward the end of her career. This emotive quality is quite evident on Edith Piaf's classic torch song "If You Love Me," enhanced by the excellent vibes playing of Susan Pascal. The song with the obligatory Latin beat is "How Am I to Know," which doesn't lend itself all that well to that rhythmic pattern, despite the valiant percussive efforts of Ernesto Pediangco. Jarrett's gospel background comes through in the Brook Benton/Clyde Otis "Endlessly." The highlights of the album are the two duets with the estimable Freddy Cole. Cole and Jarrett sound so good together they should collaborate on a full album of songs. Legal at any Age is loaded with good players, veteran and not so veteran. The two bass players, Andy Simpkins and Buddy Catlett have enough years of jazz-playing experience between them that their mere presence gives the album credibility. Simpkins' bass is the sole accompaniment to Jarrett's "Come Rain or Come Shine." Floyd Standifer, an under-recognized player, displays his muted, lyrical trumpet on "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams." Larry Fuller's softly caressed piano is heard on most cuts. Jarrett got started in the jazz singing business rather late in life. But with her second album, she is making up for lost time.


Born: 11 March 1933

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

A late bloomer, Edmonia Jarrett embarked on her jazz career at the age of 55 when people in other professions start their countdown to retirement. Long involved with gospel singing in church choirs, in 1991 Jarrett appeared in the role of Bessie Smith in a play on the life of Janis Joplin produced in Seattle, Washington. She was spotted by a booker who jump started Jarrett's jazz career by getting her into several jazz venues in the Seattle area. With neither musical education nor training nor an...
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Legal At Any Age, Edmonia Jarrett
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