74

Kate McGarry: Girl Talk

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Kate McGarry: Girl Talk At a time when it seems that everyone is a jazz singer releasing new music in a male-female distribution of 1 to 10, what is it exactly that separates the merely good singers from the truly great ones. Because of the sheer number of singers and relative high quality of jazz singing today, it is brutally hard for a singer to register above the base noise he or she is surrounded with. Equally hard is critical evaluation of such music. But there are still qualities that isolate that superb few. One of these is purity of voice.

Singer Kate McGarry hails from a musical childhood in Massachusetts that led to African-American musical studies at Amherst. A fine pedigree by any estimation. But rather than nurture a technical/theoretical singing facility, McGarry instead began to cultivate a more organic and fertile vocal style, partially under the tutelage of tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp. McGarry's approach evolved over the singer's four Palmetto releases before Girl Talk (Show Me (2003), Mercy Streets (2005), The Target (2007) and Less is More...Nothing is Everything (2008)).

The voice McGarry arrives with on Girl Talk is one from the perfectly scrubbed and wholesome girl-next-door. Her tone and delivery are effortlessly playful, flirty without being common, with a sexy confidence and secure center...and that is just on the title piece. McGarry takes the dated Neal Hefti piece and updates it with a wholesome sardonicism that avoids poisoning itself with bitterness. She does this while the band takes a nostalgic romp through a Saturday evening with Lawrence Welk, propelled by Gary Versace's grand period organ playing. Husband and guitarist Keith Ganz adds the smokiness necessary for mood. It is very nicely played and sung.

Also a revelation is the disc's opening number, "We Kiss in a Shadow," from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I (1951). McGarry liberates this song from the stage, giving it a shot of what Laurie Antonioli did "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" on american Dreams (Intrinsic Music, 2010), a loose and almost foreign arrangement and delivery with seamless swing. McGarry shoots this same arrow through the Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and "O Cantador," where she trades vocal counterpoint with Kurt Elling.

Girl Talk is a successful outing by any estimation.


Track Listing: We Kiss in the Shadow; Girl Talk; I Just Found Out About Love; The Man I Love; O Cantador; This Heart of Mine; I Know That You Know; Looking Back; Charade; It’s a Wonderful World.

Personnel: Kate McGarry: vocals; Keith Ganz: guitars; Gary Versace: organ, piano; Reuben Rogers: bass; Clarence Penn: drums and percussion; Kurt Elling: vocals (5).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Palmetto Records | Style: Vocal


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Rough Boundaries" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Boundaries
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "The Inner Spectrum of Variables" CD/LP/Track Review The Inner Spectrum of Variables
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Oratorios and Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Oratorios and Songs
by John Eyles
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Blues, Preludes and Feuds" CD/LP/Track Review Blues, Preludes and Feuds
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 22, 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!