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Katie Bull: The Story, So Far

Jim Santella By

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A genuine jazz singer, Katie Bull pulls no punches when it comes to interpreting original material. She tosses in a few classic songs on The Story, So Far while portraying lyrics convincingly, scat singing with natural ease, adding a sincere blues texture to each selection, all of it coming from the bottom of her heart.

Her voice remains strong and accurate as she relates memorable stories in the pure jazz idiom. She and bassist Joe Fonda describe her aims perfectly on their duo piece "Go Ahead," with an ironic message about blind ambition and how it takes people out of focus. This session proves that carving a piece of mainstream vocal jazz works quite well for Katie Bull and company. As she interprets "There Will Never Be Another You tenderly along with Fonda, soprano saxophonist Jeff Lederer, pianist Frank Kimbrough and drummer Matt Wilson, the singer reveals incredible chops to go along with her true spirit. Except for a change to alto sax and multi-tracked vocal harmony on "Twisted," the same unit surges forward with courage to give this classic Annie Ross-Wardell Gray tune a facelift.

A New York native, Bull took to the arts as a multi-faceted discipline early on, her father teaching modern dance at NYU. A graduate of SUNY Purchase, she's been thoroughly immersed in music, dance, writing and directing. The influence that singing teachers Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan have left upon her soul remain quite apparent. As pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, Fonda, drummer Harvey Sorgen and baritone saxophonist David CasT assist Bull with a dramatic original on "Half Full," you can feel the fierce forces of her creative spirit turning corners. Later, she and guitarist David Phelps deliver "Paleontology," another original with a tale about life's cares that is siphoned through the blues.

Underlying Bull's focus on jazz as a partner in multiple disciplines, the accompanying twenty-minute DVD features dreamlike sequences with medieval costumes as a cast of players work with the singer on city sidewalks to extend her musical session. The DVD includes vocal versions of "Lover and "Some Enchanted Evening," which conclusively complement this recommended audio CD.

Track Listing: Which?; A Song for Hudson

Personnel: Katie Bull: vocals; Frank Kimbrough, Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Joe Fonda: double-bass; Harvey Sorgen: drums; Matt Wilson: drums; David Phelps: guitar; David Cast: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Jeff Lederer: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Nick Brough: synth (1); Theo Hill: piano (14); Michelle Stewart: violin (14); Anastasia Solberg: violin (14); Siobhan Solberg: viola (14); Aaron Minsky: cello (14).

Title: The Story, So Far | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Corn Hill Indie

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