Jazz CD Reviews

Kate McGarry – Mercy Streets; Palmetto Records

jazz standards, great arrangments, and a voice that will appeal to some

Published on June 7, 2005

Kate McGarry – Mercy Streets; Palmetto Records
Kate McGarry – Mercy Streets; Palmetto Records CD **: 

McGarry is from an Irish family of twelve and grew up in
Massachusetts.  She studied with Archie Shepp and Dr. Horace Boyer
and received her bachelors in African American music and jazz. 
She moved to Los Angeles and played at jazz clubs like Catalina Bar and
Grill, The Jazz Bakery, and other places around town.  She
released her first recording and it was well received. 
Afterwards, she worked with Kenny Loggins, Clark Terry, and Hank
Jones.  She wrote and/or performed songs for “Caught” and “Boiling
Point,” and performed on soundtracks to a couple of IMAX films. 
Fred Hersch suggested her to Palmetto Records and her first record with
the label had her singing standards in the jazz, Brazilian, and Celtic
traditions.  In 1999 the artist moved to New York City which is
the prime inspiration for making this record. 

This disc contains an eclectic mix of material from Bjork, Peter
Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, etc.  The
press release goes on and on about her ability as a singer and
interpreter of standards.  If you are a big fan of Holly Cole,
then her voice won’t grate on you like it does me.  It seems the
New York Times has compared her with the likes of Rickie Lee Jones and
Suzanne Vega.  Both have different voices that are somewhat
limited in range, but make up for it in their performances.  The
best parts of this album are the arrangements, the band, and the sound
quality.  In fact, this is a perfect audiophile favorite.  A
friend was over while I happened to be listening, and he offered to buy
it from me.  I queried him about McGarry’s voice and he just
shrugged and said, “But the music sounds so good.”  I think of
artists on the scene today like Patricia Barber and even Diana
Krall—they are so much better!  Lastly, the disc label is
fluorescent lime-green and the songs titles are a bright white making
it impossible to read them without strain.  Songs included
are:  Chelsea Morning; Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets; How Deep Is
The Ocean; But Not For Me; Mercy Street; Joga (State of Emergency);
Snow Picnic; Aquelas Coisas Todas; Stars; Trouble of the World; Going
In; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans.

-Brian Bloom
 




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