Amazon.com Widgets

Cat Conner: Cat Tales (2011)

By Published: | 2,913 views
Cat Conner: Cat Tales How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

After thirty years as a jazz singer, California-based Cat Conner has recorded her first album, Cat Tales, an endeavor that is long overdue but no less welcome. For those who haven't heard Conner and may be curious as to what she and her compatriots have to offer, here's a brief summary. Lustrous, pleasing voice, crystal-clear articulation: check. Deep-rooted feeling for jazz, ability to swing: check. Perceptive choice of material, respect for a lyric: check. World-class sidemen who always place her interests ahead of their own: check. Splendid sound quality that favors everyone involved: check.

Conner reaches all the way back to 1899 (and slows the tempo considerably) for the usually ebullient opener, "Hello Ma Baby," and follows that with Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
1914 - 1993
vocalist
's sultry ballad "I Want to Talk About You" before shifting into high gear for the oft-repeated standard "Them There Eyes." Conner returns to ballad mode on Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
1917 - 1965
arranger
's "If You Could See Me Now," while Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's "In a Mellow Tone" begins as a genial showcase for Conner's radiant voice and Jim Hughart
Jim Hughart
b.1936
's resonant bass before pianist George Mesterhazy and tenor saxophonist Gene Cipriano
Gene Cipriano
Gene Cipriano

saxophone
make it a charming foursome.

Conner and Mesterhazy are the principals on one of the loveliest ballads ever written, Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green's "Some Other Time," from the Broadway musical On the Town, while Cipriano's bass oboe and Conner's shaker provide an appropriately esoteric backdrop on Juan Tizol
Juan Tizol
Juan Tizol
1900 - 1984
trombone
's seductive "Caravan." For some reason, no one is listed as playing on the album's last two tracks, "Embraceable You" and "I Hear a Rhapsody," but Cipriano (on tenor) and Mesterhazy lend their support on the former, Mesterhazy alone on "Rhapsody."

This is an impressive debut for a singer who should be much better known. If there's a blemish, it could lie in the fact that the session is overly ballad-heavy, with half a dozen numbers residing more or less in that precinct, two others ("Hello Ma Baby," "In a Mellow Tone") on the cusp, and only "Them There Eyes" pressing forward at a more than moderate pace. For those who appreciate tasteful ballads enchantingly sung, that should pose no problem. And there's certainly nothing else here with which to take issue.

Track Listing: Hello Ma Baby; I Want to Talk About You; Them There Eyes; If You Could See Me Now; In a Mellow Tone; Some Other Time; Caravan; Embraceable You; I Hear a Rhapsody.

Personnel: Cat Conner: vocals, shaker; George Mesterhazy: piano (except 7); Gene Cipriano: tenor sax, clarinet, bass oboe (1, 3, 5-7); Jim Hughart: bass (1, 4, 5).

Record Label: Cat Tales Records


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.