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My Marilyn

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Album Review

Swiss tenor saxophonist David Klein has fashioned a concept album of sorts around iconic Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe. Using songs featured in Monroe films such as "Kiss" from Niagara and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, reedman Klein maps out the blonde bombshell's ultimately tragic career and life. Featuring bedroom-eyed vocals by Klein's mother, jazz singer Miriam Klein, My Marilyn truly evokes the late actress' bittersweet persona. The Billie Holiday-influenced Klein — even sounding a bit like Monroe here — was a well-known vocalist during the '60s and '70s working with such jazz luminaries as Dexter Gordon and Sir Roland Hanna. Much like All the Way jump-started Jimmy Scott's career in the '90s, My Marilyn serves as a classy reintroduction to this overlooked and distinctive voice. As for David Klein, his full tenor sound is reminiscent of Gordon and often approaches changes in a light, blues-oriented style. The saxophonist — who also plays drums in the klezmer band Kol Simcha — has gathered a first-rate rhythm section here in Mulgrew Miller on piano, Ira Coleman on bass, and Marcello Pellitteri on drums. Needless to say, this is a first-rate straight-ahead acoustic jazz session. Adding to the ambience are gorgeous, rare black-and-white photos of Monroe as well as written remembrances from some of Monroe's friends and associates whom Klein contacted. This well-produced deluxe package with a cardboard slipcover should easily appeal to both Marilyn Monroe devotees and jazz fans alike.

My Marilyn, David Klein
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