292

Katie Bull: Freak Miracle

Florence Wetzel By

Sign in to view read count
Katie Bull: Freak Miracle Katie Bull is a highly original talent, a vocalist steeped in tradition who fearlessly rocks the boundaries of the known. Freak Miracle is a wonderfully expressive and free-flowing CD, a fresh and unpredictable mix that highlights Bull's gift for approaching music and songwriting from her own unique angle.

Eleven of the fourteen tracks on Freak Miracle are Bull originals, and no two songs are alike, whether it's an homage to mentor Sheila Jordan on "Back to Square One," a tribute to her mother on "Anniversary," or extraterrestrial vocalizations on "Road Trip." It always helps to have a great band, and Bull's group—which she utilizes in different combinations, from spare to full-on—are able to follow her in all directions. Special mention goes to bassist Joe Fonda, who is excellent wherever one finds him, and Landon Knoblock, who creates tasteful voicings on electric piano.

Another notable aspect of Bull's music is the way she dives headfirst into emotion, unafraid of the heart's awkward sides. Many of the songs on Freak Miracle concern lost and retreating love, as well as the poignancy of longing: "Oh the night can slice your / Heart out like a steel knife / It can drain your love at / the wrists." But the magic of music is the way it transforms sadness into something beautiful, and as Bull says in her lovely song "Blue Light": "Here's what we are gonna / Have to do: / Spin some light out of / Something blue."

Bull also has a great time turning the Great American Songbook on its head, infusing traditional forms with her distinctive vision. "I Thought About You" is a beautiful example of free exploration weaving with the straight-ahead, and Bull's take on the bossa nova classic "How Insensitive" includes heavy breathing and marvelously weaving phrasing. "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" is simply fabulous, with Bull juxtaposing George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's lighthearted lyrics with her own darker words, which speak plainly of love gone wrong.

What's refreshing about Bull is her fluidity and continual ability to think outside conventional structures. Her songs are also highly personal, and in that wonderful inversion of art, the more personal Bull is, the more universal her music. Freak Miracle is a treat for the ears, something to perk up the heart and the soul.


Track Listing: Back to Square One; Labyrinth; I Thought About You; Road Trip; Alight; You Were There; One Moment; How Insensitive; Blue Light; Anniversary; Let's Call the Whole Thing Off; Removed; An Opportunity; The Gifts.

Personnel: Katie Bull: vocals; Landon Knoblock: piano, Fender Rhodes, accordion; Jeff Lederer: saxophones, clarinet; Joe Fonda: bass; Frank Kimbrough: piano; Harvey Sorgen: drums; Ayelet Rose Gottlieb: vocals (6).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Innova Recordings | Style: Vocal


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "The Long Good Friday OST" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Good Friday OST
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Live at the JazzRoom" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the JazzRoom
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Say So" CD/LP/Track Review Say So
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Imagine Nation" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine Nation
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!