KATE MCGARRY, GIRL TALK


Visionary women in jazz – we’re talking Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Anita O’Day and Carmen McCrae – may be the hook and inspiration for “Girl Talk,” (Palmetto) but it also gives Grammy® nominated singer Kate McGarry a platform to cozy up to standards her own way, which means suppressing her pop inclinations (just a little bit) for something more soulfully reflective. It’s not quite a reinvention, but McGarry slips into the hypnotic chanteuse role splendidly on “Girl Talk,” with an true romanticism that swirls like so much cigarette smoke of a bygone era, until she blows it away with her stunningly original takes on chestnuts like “Charade” (a tango!) and the Gershwin’s’ “The Man I Love.” Credit her longtime musical family – guitarist (and husband) Keith Ganz, organist/pianist Gary Versace, bassist Rueben Rogers, and drummer/percussionist Clarence Penn who lays down a foundation of supple beats.

McGarry is a singer with a difference. She’s a smart and committed song stylist with an airy, breezy voice that’s easy to swoon over. Thanks to the solid, modern arrangements, she makes tunes like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “We Kiss In The Shadow” sounds like it was written yesterday. That she included it as a banner-waving proclamation for marriage equality gets her major bonus points. There’s more good stuff like her giddy gospel take of Neil Hefti’s title tune with Versace’s quivering organ fills and Ganz’s bluesy solo, and the finger-popping grooves of “This Heart Of Mine” and “It’s Wonderful World” with lyrics that she coos with affection. But nothing beats the punch of the Jimmy Rowles, “Looking Back,” a wistful song that affirms once again that “home is where the heart is.” Over the gentle accompaniment of Ganz’s lush guitar sonics, McGarry sings with uncommon sincerity and her longing becomes our own. With her song choices, thematic concept and those ace musicians along for the ride, “Girl Talk” is another McGarry triumph. (10 tracks; 44:42 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: KATE MCGARRY, GIRL TALK

Thursday, April 26, 2012

KATE MCGARRY, GIRL TALK


Visionary women in jazz – we’re talking Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Anita O’Day and Carmen McCrae – may be the hook and inspiration for “Girl Talk,” (Palmetto) but it also gives Grammy® nominated singer Kate McGarry a platform to cozy up to standards her own way, which means suppressing her pop inclinations (just a little bit) for something more soulfully reflective. It’s not quite a reinvention, but McGarry slips into the hypnotic chanteuse role splendidly on “Girl Talk,” with an true romanticism that swirls like so much cigarette smoke of a bygone era, until she blows it away with her stunningly original takes on chestnuts like “Charade” (a tango!) and the Gershwin’s’ “The Man I Love.” Credit her longtime musical family – guitarist (and husband) Keith Ganz, organist/pianist Gary Versace, bassist Rueben Rogers, and drummer/percussionist Clarence Penn who lays down a foundation of supple beats.

McGarry is a singer with a difference. She’s a smart and committed song stylist with an airy, breezy voice that’s easy to swoon over. Thanks to the solid, modern arrangements, she makes tunes like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “We Kiss In The Shadow” sounds like it was written yesterday. That she included it as a banner-waving proclamation for marriage equality gets her major bonus points. There’s more good stuff like her giddy gospel take of Neil Hefti’s title tune with Versace’s quivering organ fills and Ganz’s bluesy solo, and the finger-popping grooves of “This Heart Of Mine” and “It’s Wonderful World” with lyrics that she coos with affection. But nothing beats the punch of the Jimmy Rowles, “Looking Back,” a wistful song that affirms once again that “home is where the heart is.” Over the gentle accompaniment of Ganz’s lush guitar sonics, McGarry sings with uncommon sincerity and her longing becomes our own. With her song choices, thematic concept and those ace musicians along for the ride, “Girl Talk” is another McGarry triumph. (10 tracks; 44:42 minutes)

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