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The Palace of Nostalgia

thu 17 nov 2016 06:00 

Jazz, blues and nostalgia, by Sjaak Roodenburg. Kay Starr’s ( 1922-2016) muscular voice.

Kay Starr passed away on 3 November 2016. She started out as a jazz singer, working with Joe Venuti, Glenn Miller, Les Paul and Charlie Barnet, but switched to popular music because, being a single mom, she could not make a living singing jazz.

With her muscular voice she scored hit after hit in the fifties. In songs such as ‘Side by side’ and ‘Wheel of fortune’ she sang duets with herself, which became her trademark. Although Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin admired her, she was relentlessy banished from the charts by the young gods of rock, yet she was the first artist to have a number 1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic that had the term ‘rock ‘n roll’ in its title.

She returned to jazz and worked on beautiful performances with legends such as Ben Webster and Mannie Klein. Her version of ‘Lover Man’ makes even Billie Holiday come off second-best. She kept singing until the late 80s, with a frayed but nevertheless  impressive voice.

It was sometimes said that ‘Kay Starr does not sing the blues, Kay Starr is the blues’,

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