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Kat Edmonson: Idol Threat

Burgeoning vocal star Kat Edmonson on crooner influences, her terrific debut, and why Randy Jackson’s approval isn’t everything

Kat Edmonson

Take to the Sky. It’s the title of the debut album from fast-rising vocalist Kat Edmonson, but it might easily be mistaken for the name of a splashy, Technicolor MGM extravaganza starring Ann Miller or Jane Powell.

The suggestion delights Edmonson, who admits that classic Hollywood musicals originally fueled her love of music. Indeed, though she regularly draws comparisons to Blossom Dearie and Billie Holiday, Edmonson confesses that female singers weren’t her early idols. She wanted to sound like Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby or Gene Kelly and, she adds with a giggle, “really resented the fact that I didn’t! But I’ve since learned to really appreciate my voice and what I can do with it.” Many others share that appreciation. Released a year ago, Take to the Sky has earned near-unilateral raves. So have Edmonson’s live performances, a jam-packed schedule that has taken her from local club dates in her hometown of Austin to a set at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, a gig that prompted Boston Globe jazz critic (and JT contributor) Steve Greenlee to single her out as possibly “the most promising American jazz singer to come along since Cassandra Wilson.”

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