Album Remarks & Appraisals:
All About Jazz - Jeff Dayton-Johnson
There are many reasons to like vocalist Kate McGarry's Girl Talk.
There's the lively set list, first of all - a mix of all-too-well-known and too-little-known standards, with a fine Brazilian number thrown in. There's the uniform excellence of the band: witness Gary Versace's idiomatic organ accompaniment on "Girl Talk"; guitarist Keith Ganz - sensitive throughout, but especially on the forlorn folk tune "Looking Back"; the stately Brazilian duet "O Cantador," with Kurt Elling; and bassist Reuben Rogers' nice feature on "I Just Found Out About Love."
McGarry herself approaches every mood and tempo with ease and assurance. Her bluesy reading of the title tune, for example, with its hopelessly sexist lyric ("the weaker sex, the speaker sex"), coos and flirts, but winks at every turn in the direction Betty Carter's feminist deconstruction from Finally (Roulette, 1969).
There's all that, and there's McGarry's subtle and important contribution to the long co-evolution of jazz and rock 'n' roll. On the one hand, there are jazz players playing rock 'n' roll tunes, like pianist Herbie Hancock's The New Standard (Verve, 1996). On the other, there are players who incorporate rock 'n' roll textures, techniques, preferences and norms into jazz performance. In recent years, the best example may be bassist Todd Sickafoose, who marvelously described his musical approach in an AAJ interview as "[Duke Ellington's] 'Black and Tan Fantasy,' as played by John [Lennon] and Paul [McCartney]." ... read more...
Personnel: Kate McGarry (vocals); Keith Ganz (guitars); Gary Versace (piano, organ); Clarence Penn (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Keith Ganz.
Recording information: Maggie's Farm; Sean Swinney Studios, NYC, NY; Sound Pure Studios, Durham, NC.