How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Someone should tell vocalists todayat least the ones we see on those TV talent huntsthat singing doesn't have to be some exercise in screaming self-annihilation, that beauty and style is more about composure and command. You could tell them, or you can hip them to Girl Talk, by Kate McGarry.
McGarry, a jazz vocalist, has covered various pop and folk songs by the likes of Peter Gabriel, Sting
, you can call it jazz or pop, to them it's just singing. Like her vocal mentors, she delivers with an assured sprezzaturathat effortless style that sounds innate but can only be delivered after intense study and practice.
The title track, a bit of patronizing misogyny, gets turned on its sarcastic head, much in the manner that fellow singer Tony Bennett
covered the song in 1966. McGarry's bluesy, loping delivery is balanced by the throwback sounds of Versace's organ and Ganz's guitar. The guitarist is featured throughout, and plays a duet with McGarry on the ballad "Looking Back," doubling on acoustic and electric guitars.
What's to love here is the casual nature of this remarkable ensemble. McGarry makes the complex seem unpretentious. She can move between speaking and singing through a song without a perceptible difference between the two, as she does on "I Just Found Out About Love." Maybe that's why her voice fits hand-in-hand with singer/orator Kurt Elling on the Brazilian "O Contador." She endears herself with the flirty track "I Know That You Know," a scat-filled "It's a Wonderful World," and the bachelor (or bachelorette) pad tango, "Charade."
Kate McGarry certainly has that "thing" that Duke Ellington