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The Blue Dahlia

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For those who appreciate a wide variety of music, it's frustrating to see how easily musicians, singers, publicists, and anyone else in the music world can get pigeonholed. If you like country and bluegrass, God forbid you should also like hip-hop and funk; and if you're into alternative metal, heaven help you if you have an overwhelming desire to become involved with reggae and ska. But Duke Ellington said it perfectly when he asserted there are only two types of music — good and bad — and just as an Italian chef shouldn't be forbidden to take up Vietnamese cooking, there's no reason why someone who is an expert in one musical genre can't explore a totally different one. Athan Maroulis would no doubt agree. Best known for singing lead with the industrial-darkwave outfit Spahn Ranch, the L.A. resident moves into something completely different as vocalist for the Blue Dahlia, a '40s-like romantic jazz-pop band that takes it name from Raymond Chandler's classic 1946 film noir thriller (which stars Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd and is essential viewing for film noir enthusiasts). Those who associate Maroulis with Spahn Ranch will be impressed to learn that he is just as convincing as a suave, sophisticated crooner with a healthy appreciation of Frank Sinatra and Billy Eckstine. And Maroulis doesn't come across as a dilettante; when he tackles well-known standards like "Stardust," "Night and Day," "Ill Wind," and Eckstine's "I Want to Know About You," he brings genuine feeling to these time-honored classics. A lot of sensitivity also comes from Dahlia drummer DJ Bonebrake, who is best known for his association with punk band X — another band that doesn't sound anything at all like this one. If any criticism could be made about this enjoyable, if derivative, project, it's that the Blue Dahlia plays it too safe in its choice of material. While there's no law stating that jazz-pop artists have to avoid standards altogether, Maroulis would do well to surprise us with some classics that haven't been overdone; he'd probably do a fine job reviving "Mam'selle" (a number one hit for crooner Art Lund in 1947) and the sentimental Johnny Mercer/Jo Stafford's classic "Candy." Or how about unearthing some of Nat "King" Cole's and Duke Ellington's lesser-known gems? The Blue Dahlia doesn't have to be innovative, but it needs to surprise us more often. That said, this is a promising debut. Just as Debbie Harry's experiments with the Jazz Passengers demonstrated that she could sing avant-garde jazz as convincingly as she sang power pop and new wave with Blondie, Blue Dahlia makes it clear that an industrial-darkwave explorer can be equally effective as a jazz-pop crooner if he puts his heart into it.


Género: Tributo

Años de actividad: '00s

The Blue Dahlia were a major departure for Athan Maroulis, who is best known for his lead vocals with the industrial/darkwave band Spahn Ranch. Sounding nothing at all like Spahn Ranch or any of the other alternative outfits who Maroulis had performed with — which include goth rockers Fahrenheit 451 and the industrial-oriented Tubalcain — the Blue Dahlia are a throwback to the vocal jazz and jazz-influenced pre-rock pop of the '40s. As the Blue Dahlia's lead singer, Maroulis is cast as...
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The Blue Dahlia, The Blue Dahlia
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