Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Two Songbirds of A Feather

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Two Songbirds of A Feather

Article excerpt

Becky Kilgore/Nicki Parrott

Two Songbirds Of A Feather

Arbors Records ARCD 19447

Becky Kilgore (g, vcl) Nicki Parrott (b, vcl) Mike Renzi (p) Harry Allen (ts) Chuck Redd (d). Avatar Studios, New York, March 18 & 19, 2015

Two Little Girls From Little Rock/Two Songbirds Of A Feather/Ray Noble Medley: The Very Thought Of You-Why Stars Come Out At Night/Life Is So Peculiar/When Love Goes Wrong/'S Wonderful/Theme From The Valley Of The Dolls/They Say It's Spring/Blue Moon-Moonglow/Them There Eyes/A Woman's Prerogative/El Cajon/When I Grow Too Old To Dream. TT 53:37

How often do two jazz vocalists get together and make an album? Let alone two female jazz vocalists? As the witty arranger Billy May once quipped decades ago, "Never get in between two chick vocalists." As one who generally is at least aware of such gatherings, I can only think of the Carmen McRae/Betty Carter duets recorded live in 1987 as the other instance of an album shared between two top shelf female jazz singers. And despite what their careers may lack in name recognition driven by the commercial hype machine, Becky Kilgore and Nicki Parrott are as good as any jazz singers going today. I would argue they may be better.

The camaraderie and cohesiveness here is not surprising, nor is the total lack of ego. These two musicians have worked together for years on the concert circuit, adding some vocal duets into their performances once Nicki started to feature more of her own singing. The mutual enjoyment led to the suggestion being made to Rachel Domber of Arbors Jazz that they wanted to make an album. Here we are.

Nicki Parrott (pronounced Pu-rot) was born Australian and received some early schooling on bass from Ray Brown and John Clayton. After winning an Australian Arts Awards grant it paved the way for her to get to New York and begin studying with bassist Rufus Reid in 1994. Her career as a first call musician ascended from there. By June 2000 she was a working in Les Paul's trio on Monday nights at the Iridium and was being called in as a regular on Arbors Jazz dates as well. Today Parrott could be classified as the Arbors Jazz house bassist. Her cool and yet sizzling singing has slowly been showing up on one album after another in the past ten years only to leave us somewhat frustrated. Unfortunately her leader efforts have primarily been recorded for the Venus label which is only released in Japan. A basic search on Amazon reveals several CD ' s available at exorbitant prices, so grab this domestically released album and be grateful. …

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