Monday, August 6, 2007

Megan Birdsall: Next Big Thing?

Who will be the next Kansas City jazz artist to claim some of the international stardom enjoyed by Eldar, Karrin Allyson and Kevin Mahogany? Some might select Gerald Dunn, Charles Gatschet or Bram Wijnands. I'd put my money on Megan Birdsall.

Pretty and vivacious, Birdsall knows how to attract talent- that's Danny Embrey on guitar, Bob Bowman on bass and the hands of pianist Paul Smith in the photo. Birdsall also owns a forward-thinking approach to repertoire- she seems happiest when singing new standards by the likes of Joni Mitchell and the Beatles. Oh, by the way, she also has an excellent Ella-esque voice.

A few things still need to be ironed out. If Birdsall made me her manager tomorrow, I'd immediately pull down this unflattering video. Sure, it captures the vocalist's carefree sense of fun, but there are surely better ways to convey joie de vivre. And while I'd actively market her to record labels, clubs and festivals as a crossover artist, I'd fight to keep her recordings squarely in the jazz tradition. The temptation would be to push her into the Norah Jones and Michael Buble camp, but that's not the right move.

At least not until she's already a star.

(Original image captured by Plastic Sax at Blayney's, 8/03/07.)

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