A little sass, sophistication and style can take a girl far, ask Cat Conner!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I am known to be brutal on the tightly clustered sorority known as the female jazz singer. You never get a second chance to make a first impression but you can't judge a book by looking at the cover! The play on her name and cover art for Cat House from Cat Conner don't work for me. Cat Conner doesn't need a gimmick, her pristine voice and impeccable timing are skills that far outshine some of her contemporaries that might be slightly more familiar to the fan of traditional jazz vocals.
Cat House are a somewhat autobiographical series of uh, "cat tales" of personal experiences told through an eclectic selection of recordings that are banged out by an A list band. Every year I imagine all female jazz vocalists meeting in a secret location to decide on the tunes they will be recording, leaving the critic to wade through 25 different versions of Cole Porter's greatest hits. Not here, Conner goes deep catalog with "Everything I Love / Everything I Desire" which is a rare Porter gem. The riff on the Duke Ellington tune "Star Crossed Lovers" is fresh and exciting while the classic "What A Little Moonlight Can Do" brings the swing home.
If you are a little tired of the predictable and are looking to go deep, Cat House is uh..."purrfect!"
Tracks: Everything I Love / Everything I Desire; Handsome Man; Sans Souci; Giant Steps; Throw Me Away; Remind Me; Baltimore Oriole; Heart's Desire; Wishing On The Moon; You're Driving Me Crazy; Come On Strong; What A Little Moonlight Can Do; People Say.
Personnel: Cat Conner; Vocals, Shaker; John Chiodini: Guitar; Gene Cipriano: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor, Bass, Oboe; Tom Ranier: Piano; Chuck Berghofer: Bass; Joe LaBarbera; Ron Stout; Dick Nash; Stephanie O'Keefe; Bob Car: Bassoon, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute.