Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pat Suzuki "s/t"

 (Vik, 1958) I do not know as much as I would like to about Pat Suzuki, and I certainly cannot call her underrated, as I do not know how to gauge her rated-ness, but I can say without hesitation that this is a great album by a great singer and everyone should hear it. Miss Pony Tail's recording career mostly happens in a short window between 1958 and 1960, with her jazz albums leading to her role in Flower Drum Song (with future Miss Livingston Miyoshi Umeki). I have most of her LPs, in part because her smiles (she sports different ones on different albums) always grab me, and listening to this today I can see why she was a Downbeat award winner when she debuted. Singing with a sly attitude very akin to Eartha Kitt's approach, there are moments, particularly a magically lengthy pause during, "Lady Is A Tramp," that are clinics in jazz singing. There's a late 60s pop album I need to find, and according to five minutes on the Internet she has occasionally performed over the years (I found something from 2002), and I watched an episode of her 1976 sitcom Mr. T. and Tina, in which Pat Morita leads TV's first mostly Asian cast (offensive stereotypes, fake Japanese fonts, and L's replaced with R's abound). She is currently 90 and a photo of her backstage visiting the cast of a play from last year shows the same smile from 1958, so I hope she has had a lot to smile about over this half century. What  a talent! Unrelated: Does the gradation in the 1958 Vik logo seem too futuristic/disco to y'all?

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