Based in New York, Karen Oberlin is a flexible singer/actress who has performed vocal jazz as well as cabaret and traditional pre-rock pop. Oberlin, whose influences (direct or indirect) range from Barbra Streisand to Ella Fitzgerald to Doris Day, is capable of singing straight-ahead bop but is far from a jazz purist or a jazz snob. One minute, she might improvise her way through a hard bop standard like Horace Silver's "Doodlin'" and show her appreciation of vocalese icon Annie Ross; the next minute, she might be Streisand-minded and embrace traditional pop or cabaret (although she doesn't get into the sort of campy lyrics that some contemporary cabaret singers are known for). Although Oberlin has benefited from certain aspects of Fitzgerald's ballad style, she isn't nearly as gritty. Oberlin (who is the daughter of two classical musicians) favors a sweetly vulnerable style of singing, and her voice has a very clear, crystalline quality -- she definitely has one of the prettier voices in the cabaret, jazz, and traditional pop fields. Unlike many similar vocalists, Oberlin does not limit herself to Tin Pan Alley standards. Though she embraces a lot of standards that were written in the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, the New York resident is not hostile to rock or R&B composers. Oberlin knows her Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, and George Gershwin -- the Great American Songbook, in other words -- but she has also included songs by Joni Mitchell ("Barangrill," Randy Newman "When She Loved Me"), and Elvis Costello ("Shipbuilding") in her repertoire. In the Big Apple, those who are familiar with Oberlin know her for her acting as well as her singing. In the late ‘90s, she played one of the leading roles in the off-Broadway play Our Sinatra. And Oberlin (who appeared on the ABC soap opera All My Children) played Doris Day in her 2001 play Secret Love: A Tribute to the True Doris Day. In the early 2000s, Oberlin recorded her debut album, My Standards, for Miranda Music. Her second album, Secret Love: The Music of Doris Day, was given an August 2002 release date by Miranda.
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