Way Down Low (Spinnerette)

Kat Edmonson

Released April 10, 2012

DownBeat Five-Star Review





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.

Track Listing:

1. Lucky (Kat Edmonson) 2:59

2. I Don’t Know (Sonny Henry) 3:22

3. What Else Can I Do (Danton Boller / Kat Edmonson) 4:45

4. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times (Tony Asher / Brian Wilson) 6:55

5. This Was the One (Danton Boller / Kat Edmonson) 3:27

6. Champagne (Danton Boller / Kat Edmonson) 3:41

7. Whispering Grass (Doris Fisher / Fred Fisher) 7:15

8. I’m Not in Love (Kat Edmonson) 4:46

9. Long Way Home (Kat Edmonson) 3:04

10. Nobody Knows That (Kat Edmonson) 4:49

11. Hopelessly Blue (Miles Zuniga) 4:08

12. I Don’t Know (Reprise) (Sonny Henry) 6:15 13. ‘S Wonderful (George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin) 3:20


Kat Edmonson: vocals
Lyle Lovett: vocals (9)
Frank Locrasto: piano (3, 4, 7, 9-13), glockenspiel (2), keyboards (5), celeste (8), organ (13)

Danton Boller: bass (2-9, 11-13), vocals (3), vibes (1)
Brian Wolfe: drums (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12)
Larry Goldings: organ (1, 8)
John Ellis: bass clarinet (8)
Bob McChesney: trombone (4)
Martin Sullivan: trombone (4)
Matt Munisteri: guitar (2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12)
Timothy Loo: cello (2, 3, 8)
Chris Lovejoy: percussion (2, 4, 5, 8), vibes (1, 2)
Matt Ray: piano (6)
Andrew Duckles: viola (2, 8)
Jeremy Carlstedt: drums (3)
Kevin Lovejoy: organ, keyboards, whistle (1)
Ina Velli: violin (2, 8) Kathleen Sloan: violin (2, 8)
Pete Smith: guitar (2, 3)
James R. Atkinson: french horn (3, 4)
Bill Campbell: drums (13)
Josh Mease: guitar (13)

Recorded on February 19 – 20, 2011, at Avatar Studios in Manhattan and on June 3 – 5, 2011, at Capitol Studios in Hollywood

Producers: Danton Boller, Kat Edmonson and Al Schmitt

Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

Mastered by Doug Sax, Robert Hadley (1-12) and Jaymes Quirino (13, 14)

Art Direction: Lauren Bahr

Photography: Alyson Fox


When listening to singers who move in and out of jazz, pop and the kitchen sink, one question always lingers: Are we talking standards, or something else? In the case of singers Kat Edmonson and Melissa Stylianou, the answer for each on their new discs is somewhere in between. On Edmonson’s Way Down Low and Stylianou’s Silent Movie they tilt towards originals played in unconventional ways. In Houston native Edmonson’s case, don’t let her pixieish, almost child-like singing fool you: Her vibe is sophisticated and unique. Her Take To The Sky (2009) featured a more conventional jazz personnel and mostly covers. The self-produced Way Down Low is loaded with varied instrumentation, occasional background vocals and acute interpretations. The attention to detail can be mesmerizing, as on her exquisite, rarified take of Brian Wilson’s “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times.” Edmonson’s voice is on the verge of tears amidst subdued, shimmering horn charts, piano sprinklings and a gentle sway in 3/4. This song follows on the heels of three more spritely or Latin-flavored confections that suggest love and being in love. “Lucky,” “I Don’t Know” and “What Else Can I Do” celebrate, whereas Wilson’s lament finds Edmonson venturing into more difficult terrain. “Whispering Grass” finds the singer in the middle of a breezy meadow of sound, the emotional currents once again uneven, the song full of space, a very slow gait and moments for pianist, bassist and drummer to move in and out of the song’s seemingly endless open sky. Edmonson’s voice, too, drops down a bit to reflect the song’s mysterious gaze. Strings, celeste and a slithering organ accompany Edmonson on the sweetly sour waltz “I’m Not In Love”; while in a playful duet with well-fitted guest Lyle Lovett, “The Long Way Home” is a whimsical, swinging ode to love, and, like everything else here, once again features the odd instrumental touch. A reprise/redo via a whispering crawl with “I Don’t Know” could take your breath away.

John Ephland (DownBeat)