Monday, June 11, 2018

Cathy Segal-Garcia - The Jazz Chamber (2018)


Vocalist CATHY SEGAL-GARCIA is a prolific recording artist and performer. Now, on her 11th CD, THE JAZZ CHAMBER, Segal-Garcia expands her already wide-ranging musical vision with innovative arrangements performed with a jazz chamber orchestra. 

Unlike a symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra usually comprises 25 musicians or fewer. The word chamber is derived from the French word “chambre,” which means “room” and signifies the type of venue in which it is performed. But there are also pops orchestras, symphonic rock bands, and jazz orchestras. The one thing they all have in common is fealty to quality musicianship. And quality musicianship was Segal-Garcia’s guiding principal for this project. “I really embraced the idea of a chamber orchestra for this project because of how orchestral music affects the listener,” says Segal-Garcia. “A large group of musicians playing beautiful but complex charts creates a rich and encompassing experience. To kick off this project, I had to first choose the right producers and arrangers, and, of course, the songs. Choosing the producers and arrangers was the easy part. I already knew some of the best around. It turned out that selecting the songs was actually harder.” 

THE JAZZ CHAMBER was produced by BEVIN MANSON and co-produced by DENNIS DREITH. Manson is a topnotch pianist, composer, and arranger who has received commissions for both classical and jazz music from many organizations, such as the San Francisco Symphony. Besides producing this CD, Manson also wrote highly innovative arrangements for five of the tunes and plays piano on a couple, as well. Dreith is a film composer, arranger, and conductor, who lead his own eponymous jazz band. Dreith arranged two of the songs on the CD as did DORI AMARILIO, the jazz guitarist and composer known for his work with Brazilian music.

Segal-Garcia chose songs of various provenance. They are not your usual fare. “Star Eyes,” the opening tune, is the only song drawn from the Great American Songbook. It’s one of Segal-Garcia’s favorites, and, although it’s a standard, Segal-Garcia breaks the mold in her version by singing it as a jazz waltz. 

Segal-Garcia sings a duet with Grammy-nominated vocalist KATE McGARRY on Dori Caymmi’s “Velho Piano,” arranged here by Amarilio. The two vocalists sing in Portuguese and scat together with brio. According to Segal-Garcia, “Kate is an old and dear friend who has a lot of experience singing Brazilian tunes. Singing with Kate was definitely one of the high points in making this CD.” Amarilio also arranged “Time After Time,” the Cyndie Lauper 1983 anthem that was covered by no less than Miles Davis. Segal-Garcia was particularly drawn to the song’s lyrics.

“High Trapeze” was written by Bill Gable, the composer and recording artist known for his genre-bending compositions. The song features a lively solo by BOB SHEPPARD, one of the finest woodwind specialists in the country.

“Cinema Paradiso Theme” was composed by Enrico Marricone for the 1988 movie of the same name. SegalGarcia is joined on this tune by vocalist MON DAVID, a mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene. Segal-Garcia, who loves David’s warm, emotive voice, sings with him in her improvisational vocal group FISH TO BIRDS. The group is made up of seven recording and touring artists who interact and create their vocal stylings in the moment. 

“Fish to Birds” join Segal-Garcia on “Message to Prez,” by saxophonist BENNIE MAUPIN, who has played with the top names in jazz such as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, and many more. The moody, evocative arrangement is enhanced by Maupin’s signature bass clarinet. 

Segal-Garcia wrote lyrics for “This Moment,” which is based on Vince Mendoza’s tune “Ambivalence.” It’s a lovely ballad which is perfectly complemented by Segal-Garcia’s expressive, alto voice.

Segal-Garcia is joined on “Universal Prisoner” and “Compared to What” by 8-time Grammy nominee TIERNEY SUTTON. The two master singers improvise in a vocal pas de deux around Manson’s rich and complex arrangements. 

The closing song on the disc is “Sleep in Peace,” written by Segal-Garcia. Accompanied by just two violins, a cello, and a viola, the song is a sweet lullaby Segal-Garcia wrote for her niece with a modern arrangement by Manson. 

THE JAZZ CHAMBER is a showcase not only for Segal-Garcia’s warm, dark sound and intimate performances, but also her expansive musical vision. With first-class arrangers and some of the best jazz musicians in the country, her newest project presents an artist not content to rest on her laurels. Rather, THE JAZZ CHAMBER is the next step in the continuing evolution of a true jazz innovator.

Cathy Segal-Garcia was born and raised in Boston. She attended the renowned Berklee College of Music, studying flute and Arranging & Composition. In 2011, she was honored with an Artist License Award from the California Lawyers for the Arts. In 2015, Jazz Del Corazon recognized her for her position as a leader in the Los Angeles jazz community, and she was declared a Los Angeles “Jazz Legend” by the Living Legend Foundation. 

Segal-Garcia hosted a weekly jam session for 15 years and she currently produces a popular Saturday night Jazz Series in downtown Los Angeles. Besides her extensive private teaching, she has been a jazz vocal professor at CSULA, Occidental College, Musicians Institute, LACM, and at Idyllwild Arts Academy. Cathy travels to Buenos Aires, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Korea, England to record and perform, and considers Japan almost her 2nd home, having traveled there several times a year since 1990.

THE JAZZ CHAMBER will be available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby

1. Star Eyes (6:16)
2. Velho Piano (4:54)
3. Time After Time (4:16)
4. High Trapeze (5:58)
5. Cinema Paradiso Theme (4:49)
6. Message To Prez (12:55)
7. This Moment (4:47)
8. Universal Prisoner
9. Compared To What
10. Sleep In Peace (3:53

Guest vocalists: Kate McGarry, Mon David, Tierney Sutton, “Fish To Birds”: Cathy Segal-Garcia, Ashley Maher, Emile Hassan Dyer, Cecily Gardner, Mon David, Adrianne Duncan,  Tracy Robertson

Guest bass clarinet soloist: Bennie Maupin

Woodwinds: Rob Lockhart, Bob Sheppard , Catherine Del Russo, Phil Feather, Greg Huckins, Jeff Driskill, Mitchell Manker

Brass: Chuck Findley

Strings: Amy Hershberger, Ben Hudson, Rafi Rishik, Susan Rishik, Jennie Hansen, Alan Busteed, Andrew Shulman, Irina Voloshina, Armen Ksajikian

piano: Bevan Manson

guitar: Tom Rizzo, Dori Amarilio, Jamie Rosenn
bass: Edwin Livingston, Kenny Wild, Domenic Genova

drums: Joe LaBarbera, Matt Gordy, Steve Hass

vibes: Lolly Allen, Nick Mancini