Volume 10 : Jazz Perspective (June 2015) by Takashi Yamamoto
The artist featured on the cover of this issue is Melbourne-based jazz vocalist, Hetty Kate.
When you think of Australian female vocalists, some may also think of Janet Seidel. Janet Seidal’s popularity took off following the release of her 1997 album “The Art the Lounge”, and I remember that at the time thinking that she sounded a little like Doris Day. I worship Doris Day and artists of the time like Peggy Lee who were able to create a non-stop string of hits. Hetty has been influenced by Peggy Lee. One American critic wrote that Hetty Kate is “like Peggy Lee on a Vespa”.
One of my all-time-favourites is the 1943 recording of Peggy Lee singing “Why Don’t Ya Do Right?” with her husband Dave Babour on guitar. The song’s sublime roughness and her mischievous “naughty” voice creates a powerful atmosphere. I thought than no other vocalist could possibly create this intense atmosphere.
But then I discovered Hetty Kate. And it gets better! Hetty is stunningly beautiful to boot!
I quickly made contact with Tim Dunn in Sydney (introduced to me by ABC Records) who asked how he could assist, and he helped me make contact with the lady herself!
As luck would have it, Hetty’s new album “Dim All The Lights” has just been released in Japan, so this was good timing on my part.
Hetty was born in Hampshire, England. Her first experiences of music were learning classical piano and the violin, but since a small child she was exposed, thanks to her parents, to the music of singers such as Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. After her family moved to Australia, Hetty trained in classical voice technique. It wasn’t too long before she developed a growing interest in the jazz of the 1940s and 50s and was greatly influenced by singers like Peggy Lee, June Christy, Blossom Dearie and Julie London.
On Hetty’s newest release, you can hear the affinity she has for Peggy Lee in “Why Don’t Ya Do Right?” and other smartly selected songs including Julie Christy’s “Something Cool”, Julie London’s signature tune, “Cry Me A River” and Burt Bacharach’s “Wives and Lovers”.
I will definitely keep an eye on Hetty’s career from here on! She debuted in 2007 and has already has six releases to her name.