Kate McGarry: The Target

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Kate McGarry: The Target There's a whole lot of nonsense in Vocal Land these days, since it's so easy for the earnest but talent-challenged to produce a CD and hire a publicist. There are occasional gems in the mud, for sure, but the field is crowded with wannabes. And the majors don't help when they push faux sexuality, or turn happy songs into dirges and try to sell that as "depth.

Into this climate of cynical manipulation comes Kate McGarry's third CD, The Target, and it's a blessed relief. When McGarry sings, you hear not only a distinctively sweet, flexible, and textured voice, but a generous spirit, open heart, and searching intelligence. Her top-drawer band plays with equal creativity and care, and together they freshen a wide variety of tunes, from Miles to Sting to show tunes and standards. The originals are philosophical as well as catchy, but there's no sermon here, not with all this humor and playfulness. Instead, there's a true celebration of the range of human experience, and not a gram of nonsense to be found.

This CD's positive message rides in on unusually splendid music. Gary Versace is equally eloquent on organ, piano, and accordion—which he plays far closer to the bandoleon than the polka—and McGarry and husband/guitarist Keith Ganz sound like two halves of the same brain. Bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Greg Hutchinson are consistently tasteful and right, while Donny McCaslin's tenor pours gritty honey over three tracks, adding just enough edge to the proceedings.

The Target is also thoughtfully sequenced to enhance the appreciation of each song. For example, the subtle sensuality of "The Lamp is Low" provides an intriguing contrast with the bawdy fun that follows it ("Do Something"); then things quiet down with "She Always Will," which encourages us to consider the deeper meaning of it all.

Like most vocal CDs, this one describes a range of love, but it deliberately leaves us with hope—it opens with love's loss (the clever "Meaning of the Blues") and ends with love's tender beginning (the charming "New Love Song," written for McGarry by Ganz). On the way, McGarry swings Luciana Souza's "No Wonder," revels in "Nobody Else But Me," enriches the classic "Blue in Green" with lyrical wisdom, and finds new colors in "It Might as Well Be Spring." It should also be noted that McGarry's take on "The Heather on the Hill," with Versace's psychic accompaniment, is one of the most intimate and beautiful ballads I've ever heard.

It's a rare pleasure to write this kind of review; the only problem is knowing when to stop. By now it should be clear that The Target is a very special CD from an artist who grows with every new project: Kate McGarry's talent is unique and powerful, and it's blossoming. Enjoy!

Track Listing: The Meaning of the Blues; No Wonder; It Might as Well Be Spring; Nobody Else But Me; Blue in Green; The Target (Miracles like these); The Heather on the Hill; Sister Moon; The Lamp is Low; Do Something; She Always Will; New Love Song.

Personnel: Kate McGarry: voice; Keith Ganz: guitars; Gary Versace: organ, piano, accordion; Reuben Rogers: bass; Greg Hutchinson: drums; Donny McCaslin: tenor sax (6, 9, 11); Theo Bleckmann: voice loops, effects (6).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Araminta" CD/LP/Track Review Araminta
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "As it Was" CD/LP/Track Review As it Was
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Wish You Were Here" CD/LP/Track Review Wish You Were Here
by Jim Olin
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Swan Song" CD/LP/Track Review Swan Song
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.