Genevieve & Ferdinand -Live (Sunnyside Records, 2014) captured vocalist Kate McGarry and guitarist/husband Keith Ganz in an intimate duo live set that was well-received at All About Jazz and outlet beyond. The duo adds keyboardist Gary Versace, making a trio, recording The Subject Tonight is Love. Retaining the intimacy of Genevieve & Ferdinand, the inclusion of Versace deepens the presentation making for an enjoyable listening experience no matter how fussy the listener may be. McGarry is immediately disarming in her sincere singing and composing. On The Subject Tonight Is Love, the trio covers a lot of ground, acreage increased by Versace's piano, organ, and accordion, each casting a defining light on the music made.
The triumph of the recording is a brooding coupling of the McGarry original "Climb Down" with the traditional Irish reel "Whiskey You're the Devil." This is a tribal celebration of all things Celtic. Versace's organ is definitive as is his acoustic and electric piano. Ganz steadily propels the song forward to its logical rollicking folk ending, sepia-tinged perfume with Guinness. The presence of "My Funny Valentine" in this mix at first terrified me as I believe, as does Scott Yanow, that a moratorium should be placed on its performance and recording. That said, McGarry turns the ballad into a drowsy dream tome, retooling the old warhorse in such a way to reveal the song's bones while, at the same time, displaying her wonderful instrument, possessing a crystalline authenticity that we have come to expect from her. These are but the high points of a finely-crafted project. Good Show!
Track Listing: Prologue: The Subject Tonight Is Love; Secret Love; Climb Down/Whiskey You're the Devil; Gone with the Wind; Fair Weather; Playing Palhaço; Losing Strategy #4; My Funny Valentine; Mr. Sparkle/What a Difference a Day Makes; She Always Will/The River; Indian Summer; Epilogue: All You Need Is Love.
Personnel: Kate McGarry: vocals, piano (7); Keith Ganz: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, acoustic bass guitar; Gary Versace: piano, keyboard, organ, accordion; Obed Calvaire: drums (3); Ron Miles: trumpet (12).
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