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Jazz Baby

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Album Review

Carol Channing's reputation was built upon her turns in comic stage performances. And Jazz Baby is exactly what you would expect from a swinging, jazz album starring the distinctive voice of Hello Dolly! The collection includes songs from some of her most famous Broadway musicals, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The title track announces Channing's personal connection to these songs: "(I'm) full of jazz and harmony, 'cause I'm a jazz baby." The upbeat Tin Pan Alley song is perhaps the most obvious choice for the set's title and creates a personal mood for the entire album. Channing's voice never sheds its outrageous comic sound, but exhibits a sultry, sexiness throughout that most would not expect (or be prepared for). Jazz Baby is the kind of album that may only get an occasional play, but is worthy of many multiple listens. While Channing is no Ella Fitzgerald or Doris Day, her affection for the music is undeniable on this enjoyable album. "Ma (He's Makin' Eyes at Me)," the title track, and "Doin' the Old Yahoo Step" are the standout swing tracks, while "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," "You're the Cream in My Coffee," and "Button Up Your Overcoat" are the best ballads. Strong versions of "Bye, Bye Baby," "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" are also lots of fun. Fans of Judy Garland (especially late career) and Ethel Merman who are willing to experiment will treasure Jazz Baby for its nostalgia and sweetness. It is not a greatest-hits album by any means. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the most represented show, but it is also one of her longest-running. That notwithstanding, Jazz Baby is essential and a hit!

Biography

Born: January 31, 1921 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Carol Channing has worked primarily as a comic stage actress and singer, along with occasional movie and television appearances. A leggy blonde with popping eyes and a voice that ranges from a baby squeal to a baritone growl, she has an oversized style that was best expressed in her two...
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Jazz Baby, Carol Channing
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