All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Cat Conner: Cat House

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
West Coast Vocalist Cat Conner's debut recording, Cat Tales (Rhombus Records, 2012) was a critical highlight vocal recording of the year. Conner's grace and sophistication come from the same school that produced Shirley Horn, Rebecca Parris and Patti Wicks. She is a master of the slow ballad and that may be the least of her considerable talents as expressed on the present Cat House.

Conner's song choice for Cat House was measured and forward thinking. It reflects the singer's deep knowledge of popular vocal music, as well as, infusing the essence of the unavoidable life experiences that shape us into the canon of the Great American Songbook. On than note, it was once opined that "standards" were standard because of their timeless application in life. One must grow into them to understand, internalize and then recreate them as lessons and witnesses. Conner's true oeuvre is that she has done exactly this to a measure of perfection met by few other singers.

Conner touts Cat House as a deeply emotional and personal project, where she bends thirteen relatively underperformed pieces to her vocal and intentional will, making them tell her story, thereby resolving the good with the bad in a life well lived. She deftly dispatches Cole Porter's "Everything I Love" with the addition of her own lyrics ("Everything I Desire") over John Chiodini's plush and expressive guitar. She runs with Chiodini's arrangement of Sonny Burke's "Sans Souci," almost purring the Peggy Lee lyrics around Gene Cipriano's bass oboe, which sounds oddly perfect in the mix.

Pianist Tom Ranier sets into motion Chiodini's provocative Latin arrangement of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" with lyrics penned by friends Meredith d'Ambrosio and Ron Hurston. The song has an overall love-humid feel seasoned with just the right sensual tension. Ranier plays with a carefully tethered slow burn that propels the song languidly and with intent. Conner's voice is perfectly balanced throughout, informed by a life of experience and a future of hope and happiness. This is an album about turning corners and coming out on top.

Track Listing: Everything I Love/Everything I Desire; Handsome Man (Pretty Girl); Sans Souci; Giant Steps; Throw Me Away; Remind Me; Baltimore Oriole; Heart’s Desire; Wishing on the Moon; You’re Driving Me Crazy; Come on Strong; What a Little Moonlight Can Do; People Say.

Personnel: Cat Conner: vocals, shaker; John Chiodini: guitar; Gene Cipriano: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, bass oboe; Tom Rainer: piano; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Joe LaBarbera: drums; Ron Stout: trumpet; Dick Nash: trombone; Stephanie O’Keef: French horn; Bob Carr: bassoon, bass clarinet, alto flute.

Title: Cat House | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Cat Tales Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Cat House

Cat House

Cat Tales Records

Cat Tales

Cat Tales

Cat Tales Records


Related Articles

Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read The Poetry of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review
The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 20, 2018
Read The Unknowable CD/LP/Track Review
The Unknowable
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Like A Radio CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Radio
by Doug Collette
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Live In Healdsburg CD/LP/Track Review
Live In Healdsburg
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Live At Okuden" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Okuden
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Transcend" CD/LP/Track Review Transcend
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Live at Kolarac" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Roque" CD/LP/Track Review Roque
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 11, 2017
Read "Komitas:  Seven Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Komitas: Seven Songs
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 7, 2018