Kate McGarry: Beauty and the Bus
Columnist since 2002Author of "The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius," Dr. J combines her love of jazz and her fascination with psychology, focusing on where they overlap: in celebrating the individual spirit.
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I missed seeing another favorite, which was done in the second set (alas, always a risk if you don't stay for both). "Looking Back" was written by pianist Jimmy Rowles, who also gifted us with his equally gorgeous but better-known "The Peacocks." I believe Ganz and McGarry recorded this at home, which gives it just the right blend of intimacy and purity of sound. Some would categorize this track as the ideal fit for McGarry's breathy, often-girlish tone; although it nestles in the jazz repertoire, it offers the simple directness of a folk tune, and McGarry delivers it directly from her heart to yours.
One more item: at first I didn't understand what McGarry meant about Girl Talk being a tribute to the female singers who influenced her, since none of the material seemed to have the signature of anyone in particular. The inspiration was more in their encouragement to follow your instincts and your stars, and tell your story straight. In that case, we all should be talking more like girls.
A Final Note
I have watched McGarry grow steadily as an artist since her first CD, Show Me (Palmetto, 2003), gaining assurance as she finds more contentment in her life and work. At the dire risk of getting rather New Agey here, it seems to me that the freer and more courageous she becomes, the more often she rings those universal bells of beauty and truth. I expect this is why she touches so many people now, and will continue to do so for all the generations to come.
Bus? What bus?
All Photos: Matteo Trilsolini