Chocolate covered bacon. Spam sushi. Over easy eggs on pizza. I’m a fan of things that, at first, don’t seem to go well together, and yet when you actually try it’s pretty darn good. That’s the kind of surprise I got when listening to Katie Glassman’s latest release, Snapshot. It’s bluegrass and vintage jazz. A torch singer with a fiddle. Blues polka.
The album starts out with Uncle John, a western swing number that if not for Glassman’s silky vocals, would be immediately pegged as an Asleep At the Wheel classic. Then comes the title track, a jazzy number that would be perfectly at home in a sharp Vegas lounge in the 50’s. Next up is Devil’s Plea that starts with a breathless vocal part that builds the suspense on what direction the song will take: will it be bluegrass, will it be jazz? Ahh, who cares, it will be a good listen.
Earlier in her career Glassman won a bazillion awards for her fiddle prowess. But like any good musician she used that to springboard into other genres and styles. On the whole, I’d say Snapshot is more of a jazz project than anything, but that categorization is more about picking the biggest minority. Personally I found myself drawn to several tunes with more of a bluesy tinge: Rain, Rain; Long White Dress; and a Billie Holiday-soaked 1000 Shades Of Blue.
I don’t really know how to wrap up this review, since Snapshot covers such a wide variety of music. Somehow, though, it all flows together and fits nicely. So whether you want a little twang in your jazz, or some sultry vocals in your bluegrass, Katie Glassman comes through on this disc.
About the author: Support new music. Listen to a band or singer you've never heard of this week. I've been doing that for over 30 years.