“Scarecrow Sessions,” the critically-lauded homage to Buddy Ebsen,
is garnering radio-play led by the single, “If I Only Had A Brain.”
Calabasas, California (1 October 2014): Reluctant no more, Kiki Ebsen clicked the heels of her ruby red shoes three times and set off on the yellow brick road armed with the Great American songbook, Broadway show tunes and songs from Hollywood’s Golden Era that are tied to the career of her celebrity father, Buddy Ebsen. Yesterday (Sept. 30), the singer-songwriter-keyboardist released the David Mann-produced “Scarecrow Sessions” on her Painted Pony Media label, a classy offering being warmly received by jazz radio programmers and journalists across the nation charmed by the elegant acoustic jazz recording, the sentimentality that inspired it and a sprinkling of Tinseltown stardust.
Initially, Ebsen dug her heels in defiantly at her father’s insistence that she learn to sing jazz standards, instead preferring to follow her own path by writing her own material and singing and playing with pop, rock and R&B royalty. Years after Buddy’s passing, Kiki smartly mustered the courage to go out on a limb in order to honor his wishes, which she ably does with heart on the twelve songs, including “Missing You,” a touching beauty co-penned by Buddy unearthed while Kiki was foraging through a box of his old scripts and songbooks. One of those scripts was from “The Wizard of Oz.” Buddy was originally cast to play the Scarecrow, but agreed to play the Tin Man instead. However, metallic particles from the costume and the aluminum makeup covering his hands, neck and face provoked a toxic reaction when it seeped into his lungs causing the actor to be hospitalized for several days where he required the aid of a respirator in order to breathe, leaving him unfit to play the part. In addition to recording “Over The Rainbow” and “If I Only Had A Brain” from the iconic feature - the latter being the first single presently collecting spins at radio stations across the U.S. - Kiki selected gems from Buddy’s celebrated film roles in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn (“Moon River”), “Captain January” with Shirley Temple (“At The Codfish Ball”), and “Banjo On My Knee” with Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck (“St. Louis Blues”).
The imaginative artistry and high-level musicianship make “Scarecrow Sessions” more than just a delightful stroll down memory lane. Ebsen’s initial endeavor into jazz shines brightly on its own merits. Possessing grace and an invitingly expressive voice, Ebsen recorded in New York City not far from her father’s environs when he was on Broadway and a Vaudevillian song and dance man. She was joined in the studio by some of the locale’s finest players including Chuck Loeb (electric and acoustic guitars), John Patitucci (acoustic and electric bass), Henry Hey (piano and organ), Clint de Ganon (drums) and Mann on saxophone and flute.
Having spent the summer touring and performing songs from “Scarecrow Sessions” nationally and abroad, Ebsen has Northern and Southern California shows booked this fall, including October 13 at Genghis Cohen in Los Angeles.
In addition to being profiled in the next issue of Jazziz magazine, below is a sampling of the album reviews that have been published thus far:
“The sound is excellent. So are the understated and fitting arrangements. Like her makeup and costume on the cover, this is an Uptown production (think Café Carlyle) with a Downtown feel (the Half Note). It’s highly approachable and there’s joy in the listening.” - JAZZed Magazine
“Her voice is warm and sweet and altogether lovely in such songs as ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is,’ ‘Moon River,’ ‘Comes Love,’ ‘Laura,’ ‘Easy to Love’ and the ‘St. Louis Blues.’” – The Buffalo News
“Everything about ‘Scarecrow Sessions’ oozes class, from the selection of the songs, to the contribution of the musicians and even to the quality of the comprehensive liner notes booklet that accompanies the CD. Without doubt this is a release with ‘must have’ written all over it.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy
“Although Kiki Ebsen recorded these songs to honor her father’s memory and his love of jazz, her enticing, intimate vocals make these songs great to listen to, relax to, or dance to. In the process, she has created a musical statement that is truly her own but one that is definitely easy to love and one that her father would certainly be proud of.” - AXS
“She (Kiki) recorded ‘Scarecrow Sessions’ in her own time, in her own voice, and in her truth. Working with David Mann to produce this project helped shape it into a masterpiece.” – Pink & Blue Notes
“’Scarecrow Sessions’ showcases her classically-trained voice imbued in its warm, elegant, and inspirational performances.” – Hill Rag
“An impressive album that reflects the musical upbringing that her father, actor Buddy Ebsen (remember The Beverly Hillbillies?), gave her.” – Jazz Weekly
“With her album Kiki has obviously reached the hearts of those who fondly remember the golden days of Hollywood.” – Smooth Jazz Daily
For more information, please visit www.KikiEbsen.com.