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KCUR's Band Of The Week: Millie Edwards

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

The diminutive Kansas City vocalist Millie Edwards, occasionally introduced to audiences as "the little woman with a big voice," performs Sunday alongside Lori Tucker and Geneva Price as the Wild Women of Kansas City.

Edwards is equally adept at belting out cabaret, pop, blues and jazz material and performs regularly as a solo act at The Phoenix.

Her brassy vocals and distinctive vibrato can be heard on an energetic rendition of the standard "Who Can I Turn To," where she engages in lighthearted interplay with the jazz pianist Michael Pagán on the 2011 album Millie and Mike Live (the track, a standout number from the 1964 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd, has been interpreted by artisits including Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson and Van Morrison):

Sunday's performance by the Wild Women of Kansas City (formerly including jazz and blues legend Myra Taylor before her death in 2011) is part of this year's July Jazz Jam.

Overseen by pianist Tim Whitmer, the seventh edition of the annual concert also features contributions from saxophonist Jim Mair, violinist Marvin Gruenbaum, guitarist Rod Fleeman, bassist James Albright and drummer Jurgen Welge.

July Jazz Jam, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 30 at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64112.

KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee blogs about Kansas City's jazz scene at Plastic Sax.

KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee blogs about Kansas City's jazz scene at plasticsax.com.
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