Vocalist Katie Bull
released Love Spook
in March of this year and has another coming out at the end of July. While my JazzReview
colleague, Don Williamson has already covered this recording for our site, I just can’t resist echoing his praise and adding a little of my own.
Katie Bull employs two distinct trios on this CD. The common denominator is percussionist Matt Wilson
and, of course, the singer herself. While one group utilizes the avant-garde pianist Michael Jefry Stevens
, the other features the more mainstream Frank Kimbrough
. Two remarkable bassists are featured. Joe Fonda
is paired with Stevens and Martin Wind
with Kimbrough. These two combinations and the unique Katie Bull vocals make Love Spook
a CD that can’t be ignored.
We are treated to two sides of Bull’s abundant talents. She delivers several of her own compositions. The title song reminded me of the late European singer Nico
who, in her period of popularity, delved into her own personal spooks
. Another original, Deer Run
features the singer in a similar vein and giving Stevens and percussionist Matt Wilson a real workout. Of Bull’s compositions, I particularly enjoyed the highly introspective Ashokan Road
and the hip Leftover Blues
The singer is even more remarkable when she handles a pop standard. This singer will want to re-invent the Great American Songbook. Most jazz versions of the 1943 Oklahoma hit Surrey With The Fringe On Top
are delivered as barn-burners at a frantic tempo. With Katie Bull, that ain’t necessarily so! She treats the old standard as something close to a ballad. She does delightfully different things with Harry Warren’s 1934 gem I Only Have Eyes For You
. It’s as though she had never heard any of the hundreds of recorded versions from past decades. This is the freshest rendition I’ve ever heard. Just perfect!
Katie Bull is a confident, adventurous and fearless interpreter of song. Two thousand years ago, Virgil
was quoted Do not commit your poems to pages alone. Sing them, I pray you
. That still applies!