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Becky Kilgore & Nicki Parrott: Two Songbirds of a Feather

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Some jazz voices-Ella and Louis, Carmen and Betty, Bing and Rosie-seem made for one another. The bi-generational teaming of Rebecca (Becky) Kilgore and Nicki Parrott flaunts that it-had-to-happen spirit. Best evidence among this baker’s dozen tracks is the closer, a gossamer “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” performed a cappella, laying bare how sublimely their slightly sweet (Parrott) and slightly salty (Kilgore) voices meld. With Parrott doubling on bass and Kilgore on guitar, they’re joined across the remainder by saxophonist Harry Allen (a go-to collaborator of Kilgore’s), drummer Chuck Reed and-arguably the best piano accompanist a singer could ask for-Mike Renzi.

On 2013’s Some Like It Hot, Kilgore’s salute to songs associated with Marilyn Monroe, her set list included “When Love Goes Wrong” and “A Little Girl From Little Rock” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Both are revisited here as peppy duets (the latter is retitled “Two Little Girls From Little Rock”), as Monroe performed them with Jane Russell. Kilgore’s reputation as an indefatigable music archeologist is reconfirmed with such wonderful buried treasures as Ray Noble’s “Why Stars Come Out at Night” (paired with his “The Very Thought of You”), Johnny Mandel and Dave Frishberg’s whimsical “El Cajon” and the Mildred Bailey anthem “A Woman’s Prerogative.” Along with some well-crafted standards-“Them There Eyes,” “They Say It’s Spring” and “‘S Wonderful”-there’s a felicitous original, the title tune, written by Parrott’s husband and reminiscent of Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer’s delightful comingling on “Two of a Kind.”

Originally Published