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Michael O’Neill & Kenny Washington: New Beginnings

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Though jazz singing suffered a significant loss this past year with the death of Jimmy Scott, who knew that a richly gifted alternative has been waiting in the wings? Actually, San Franciscans have known for a while. Like Scott, Washington is small of stature (just 5-foot-2) but big on talent, blessed with a similarly pure high baritone and a magical way with standards.

Originally from New Orleans, O’Neill honed his musical skills with U.S. Navy bands and, after settling in the Bay Area, spent eight years as featured vocalist at the chic Top of the Mark. But his recordings have been few. Featured on lanky saxophonist Michael O’Neill’s playfully titled The Long and the Short of It in 2005, he reunited with O’Neill two years later for Still Dancin’.

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