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Friday, October 24, 2014

CD Review: Cat Conner – Cat House

Cat Conner (vocals, shaker); John Chiodini (guitar); Gene Cipriano (clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor, bass oboe); Tom Ranier (piano); Chuck Berghofer (bass); Joe LaBarbera (drums); Ron Stout (trumpet); Dick Nash (trombone); Stephanie O’Keefe (French horn); Bob Carr (bassoon, bass clarinet, alto flute).
(Review by Ann Alex).
This is a very enjoyable CD of quality jazz singing and skilled playing, and it is a bit different from the offerings of jazz standards on other discs.  Forget the often sung Summertime and Cry Me A River – here are love songs which you don’t hear so often, such as Throw Me Away (Michael Dees), and a Cole Porter tune with words written by the singer.  A track list will be the best way to describe the CD.
1/ Everything I Love/Everything I Desire is the Cole Porter track, with a quirky verse, sung with a sultry tone and lively improvisation on the tune, and a skilled guitar solo.
2/ Handsome Man (Pretty Girl) A slow song of longing, featuring the horns, which the singer describes as being ‘cradled’ by the horns – a good illustration.
3/ Sans Souci  Lyrics by Peggy Lee, with an eastern sound on the bass oboe.
4/ Giant Steps, a Coltrane bebop tune, with an effective piano solo.
5/ Throw Me Away A clever lilting tune to a song about deceived love, featuring clarinet and a steady groove from the others.
6/ Remind Me (Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern) Luscious horns and steady piano chords, to accompany a witty song of love gone wrong, eg ‘Although I adore you/ remind me to ignore you.’
7/ Baltimore Oriole This singer does sexy, sophisticated songs well, especially this one about a smooth talker, ‘I’d like to ruffle his plumage’, which features a yearning trumpet.
8/ Heart’s Desire A happy love song with a Latin beat
9/ Wishing On The Moon A love song about longing with drums and piano
10/ You’re Driving Me Crazy  A more usual standard, with the verse, horns, and a walking bass, and a definite 1930’s feel.
11/ Come On Strong, More saucy lyrics which this singer is well-suited to because of her sultry, ‘dry’ tonal qualities.
12/ What A Little Moonlight Can Do This opens with just voice and piano, then the whole band steams along.
13/ People Say (Song For Rob) A very surprising way to round off the CD.  Cat Conner’s own song about what it felt like to be separated from the baby she gave up for adoption.  (They’ve now been reunited).  Heartfelt singing, the story is told simply, just voice and guitar.
This singer hales from Toronto but is now based in Los Angeles, and this is her second CD. She has performed with some of Canada’s most well-known jazz musicians.  The CD is available on Cat Tales Records, catalogue number CT1011. See the website www.catconner.com.
Ann Alex.

1 comment :

Liz said...

loved this album, especially the Cole Porter number, new to me...that guitar intro is fab

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