She kicks it all off with the great piece, standardized by Charlie Parker, Star Eyes. Cathy herself states that she loves the way the music dissipates at the end, as fading into the stars. And she makes that imagery work beautifully for her in her chosen waltz interpretation of the Jazz piece.
She follows with Velho Piano, the lovely Portuguese piece that she does in duet with her "sister" in song, Kate McGarry. The playfulness and warmth between them is wonderful to hear.
A big surprise is her treatment of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. Originally a pop tune, Cathy and the chamber orchestra turn it into something completely different.
High Trapeze was written by L.A. composer Bill Gables. It is done in a Latin style and Cathy has fun with it. It offers yet another look into the vocal stylings of Cathy Segal-Garcia.
She gets yet another remarkable duet with the incredible Mon David in Paradiso Cinema Theme. Cathy admits to watching the Italian-language in Japan with Japanese subtitles and being struck by the story and the music. She admits it “made me cry through the whole thing.” Jazz writer Scott Janow calls Mon David “A major Jazz singer who can sing any type of music with credibility, creativity, heartfelt emotions and wit.'' The same can be said of Cathy Segal-Garcia and, together, they create a vocal marvel. Beautiful.
The vocal harmonies take off yet again in Message to Prez. Cathy sings with a vocal harmony group of her own crafting called Fish to Birds. With soaring sopranos and what sounds like Tibetan Throat Singers, the vocal styles careen from singer to singer and it is a wonder to hear as the instrumentalists get their own turn in the piece. It is extraordinarily innovative and alive.
The stirring ballad This Moment is based on Vince Mendoza’s Ambivalence. Add the exquisite soprano sax and…well, you’ve “got the makin’s.” It is a touching song of compassion and understanding, especially for oneself.
Two Les McCann pieces are tied in tandem--Universal Prisoner and Compared to What. Tierney Sutton duets with Cathy and the two achieve something masterful. The scats and the off-hand improvised drop-ins are a treat.
Cathy’s own Sleep in Peace concludes the album. She admits that she “wanted at least one original” of her own. It is a magnificent choice. It—and five of the pieces—were arrangements by producer Bevan Manson who deliciously arranged the string section of this lovely, lovely lullaby.
The Jazz Chamber is a work of collaborative splendor between musicians, arrangers, and the voices of Cathy Segal-Garcia and her guests. Cathy gets to put a check mark by this item on her wish-list—a recording with chamber orchestra—and we are the beneficiaries.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl