Way Down Low
Kat Edmonson was born in the '80s, but her first live concert, courtesy of her mother, featured The Ink Spots. Her musical trajectory was set, and that pretty much explained her seemingly instinctual delivery of jazz classics on her 2009 debut, Take to the Sky. With what seems equal parts innate ability and some solid training, her astounding talents take a more expansive turn on Way Down Low. Many of her own tunes—like the pop-inflected treat “Lucky” and the bossa nova–inspired “What Else Can I Do?”—stand strong next to the work of The Beach Boys (she offers a spare and moving cover of “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”) and The Ink Spots (her “Whispering Grass” is devastating and lovely, her voice ringing with Billie Holiday–like melancholy). Edmonson does indeed carry a hint of Holiday, along with a dash of Blossom Dearie and traces of Madeleine Peyroux. Her first treatment of the Sonny Henry tune “I Don’t Know” imbues the tune with pop effervescence. Later, in a reprise, she deconstructs the song, delivering a broken and crumbled version palpitating with defeat. It’s a gorgeous moment, one of many on Way Down Low.