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Kat Reinhert: Spark

Dan Bilawsky By

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Vocalist Kat Reinhert's Spark is a musical treatise on navigating the bends and sharp turns on the road of life. It's a journey of self discovery, personal expression, and empowerment, bravely put on display for all to hear.

Reinhert, a New York-based vocalist who splits her time between teaching and performing, delivers thirteen songs here, touching on topics ranging from body image issues to infatuation with the Big Apple to divorce. In some places, the emotional weight of the material comes through clearly in Reinhert's delivery; at other times, she sings with a sense of detachment, resigned to dealing with the matter at hand without bending to its will. And while it's hard to know at times whether to view Reinhert as a jazz vocalist or a sophisticated singer-songwriter, such classifications are ultimately irrelevant. She's her own woman, and that's what really counts.

In putting together this project, Reinhert wisely enlisted pianist David Cook as her co-producer and co-arranger. He helps to mold the sound of each song, allowing the pieces to breathe, groove, and flow. Each number is concise and well-shaped, leaving room for instrumental expression without becoming bloated or going off the rails. Joining Reinhert and Cook on the majority of the tracks are bassist Sam Minaie, who proves to be a standout soloist and a support pillar; guitarist Perry Smith, a sonic sorcerer who captures the emotional intent of the music with his tasteful yet dramatic touches; and drummer Ross Pederson, a believer in serve-the-song drumming who can also turn into a live wire at times. Additional musicians—supremely gifted vocalists Jo Lawry and Shayna Steele among them—make guest appearances and further enhance the specific psychological and spiritual qualities attached to these songs.

A few numbers, such as "Heavy" and "Simple Illusion," fall flat and don't hit their intended mark, but Reinhert's songs connect more often than not. At her best, as on the modernistic "Paper Bag," a personalized take on Rush's "Limelight," the sly and bawdy "Naked," the guest-filled "Little Compartments," and the weighty "Prison," Reinhert finds that spark of inspiration that sets all good songs apart.

Track Listing: Walk Into The Rain; Heavy; Spark; Paper Bag; My Arms; Limelight; Little Compartments; Naked; Prison; Simple Illusion; Without A Fight; How Do You Know; Skyline.

Personnel: Kat Reinhert: vocals; Perry Smith: guitar; David Cook: piano, Fender Rhodes; Ross Pederson: drums; Sam Minaie: acoustic bass; Julia Pederson: electric bass; Jody Redhage: cello; Shayna Steele: vocals; Jo Lawry: vocals; Sarah Tolar: vocals.

Title: Spark | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced


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