Spin This includes very different interpretations of widely-familiar tunes ranging from an exciting odd-meter "My Favorite Things" to a vocal duet with organ B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco on "When You're Smiling." Surprises such as Thelonius Monk's "It's Over Now" accompanied by only two bass clarinets, and Miles Davis' "Four" with four choruses sung effortlessly at break-neck speed, signal that this is not standard vocal fare. Blixt also includes two little known gems, the provocative "Carefully Taught" from South Pacific, and Count Basie's virtually unsung classic, "Swingin' The Blues." Add to that, three originals penned by Karen and her collaborator on this album, jazz and pop veteran producer and arranger, Frank Martin. The album's refreshing diversity of material represents not only the broad span of her musical career, but also of her life. "To pare down to 12 songs a repertoire developed over 12 years of performing live was quite a challenge. I think this collection really succeeds in representing who I am, where I've been, and what's important to me at this point in my life." One particular highlight of Spin This unexpectedly arrives midway through the album with the Blixt/Martin-penned title track, which Karen describes as a "hip-hop funky anti-Bush rant fueled by fiery passion and rage" But this offbeat tune's real brilliance is that it sits comfortably alongside such well-known classics as "You Don't Know Me" and "Night and Day." This recording also sets itself apart by featuring an all-star cast including Grammy-nominated organ B-3 phenom Joey DeFrancesco, famed Peruvian Grammy-nominated percussionist and drummer Alex Acuna, vibes legend Buddy Montgomery, Yellowjackets' keyboardist Russell Ferrante, drummer Will Kennedy, bassist Brian Bromberg, Grammy-nominated reed player Paul McCandless, and several others. And to do justice to the artistry of these musicians, the project was recorded at Marin County's legendary Skywalker Sound, with renowned engineer Leslie Ann Jones, ensuring an exceptional sonic recording. Karen Blixt began singing at an early age in church, showing an innate knack and love for improvising, even if it was with the only music available to her at the time: the church hymnal. Now, just as she has been doing since childhood, Karen still takes familiar tunes and gives them a twist... improvising, reworking, spinning them, until they are turned inside out and made uniquely her own. Take Karen's CD's proudly-proclaimed advice: Spin This!
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