Debra Milne Jazz

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Debra's CD and Gig Reviews


Posted by gabzas331 on April 25, 2016 at 10:55 AM

Kat Parra – vocals; Murray Lowe – piano; Marc van Wageningen – electric bass; Aaron Germain – acoustic bass; Sascha Jacobsen – acoustic bass; Colin Douglas – drums; Daniel Foltz – drums; Michael Spiro – percussion; Masaru Koga – alto & soprano sax, shakuhachi, flute, coros; John Worley – trumpet; Wayne Wallace – trombone; Lila Sklar – violin; Seth Asarnow – bandoneon.

San Francisco based Kate Parra brings together a range of jazz and Latin influences in her fifth album ‘Songbook of the Americas’. It’s all there in the opening ‘Four’ , played as a mambo, with tight fluid horn lines and original lyrics, including a break into a Spanish ‘coros’. Betty Carter’s characteristically witty phrasing in ‘Please Do Something’ goes down well as a ‘Cha- Cha’ , the arrangement potentially ideal material for Strictly Come Dancing. And then Parra nails her vocal bebop credentials in ‘Wouldn’t It Be Sweet’, an outstanding delivery of original lyrics, vocalese & scatting of Charlie Parker’s ‘Au Privave’ . The rest of the album is composed of predominantly Latin songs, and Parra’s slightly hard edged tone is well suited to the emotional delivery of Spanish lyrics. The variety of the material is enhanced by subtly dynamic arrangements & contributions from the guest vocalists. A highlight is the ensemble’s version of well known bolero ‘Besame Mucho’ , which is refreshed by a slow and atmospheric interpretation featuring Masaru Koga on shakuhachi (Japanese end blown flute), with the acoustic bass & percussion combining particularly effectively. However, the final track ‘Mambo Italiano’, with lyrics so cheesy they include mozzarella (it’s true!), may be a mambo too far. Fortunately , the track is redeemed by some great horn lines, a fine trombone solo by Wayne Wallace, and the impression that the band clearly had such a good time playing it, along with the rest of the album.


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