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Well Find A Way by Cathy Menard

We’ll Find A Way, the latest release from jazz vocalist Cathy Menard is a good CD. It’s not a perfect CD, but it’s good enough to make me want to hear more from this young lady. Ms. Menard possesses a rich voice with a lyrical ring and plenty of depth. However, it becomes unstable at times which leads to some intonation problems, particularly in the lower registers. It is these intonation problems, however slight, that mar some of the songs on this recording and prevent this good CD from being a great one.

That being said, Menard brings enough class and refinement to this material that I still found it an enjoyable listen. The song list consists mostly of standards, although it also includes two originals, "From The Very Start" and "We’ll Find A Way", both lovely tunes and both co-written by Menard and her very fine bassist, Duncan Hopkins. If there’s one thing Menard has done very well on this CD, it’s surround herself with top-shelf jazz professionals. In addition to Hopkins, there is Pat Labarbera on saxophones (he simply glows on this recording), Nancy Walker on piano (she has a such a beautiful touch) and Don McDougall on drums (a master of subtlety that never loses the pocket). The other thing that I find very commendable about Menard is that she is not at all stingy with the spotlight; she gives the other members of the band plenty of time at center stage and it pays off handsomely for her, making for a very well-rounded recording.

Her choice of tunes is impressive. Besides the two outstanding originals, I was especially impressed with the medley "The Night We Called It A Day/Night And Day". It’s a spectacular arrangement of two standard tunes, with excellent vocals by Menard and great support from the rest of the band. "Secret Love" is another tune that Menard shines on. Most of these are mid-tempo tunes, but she also shows that she knows her way around a ballad on her interpretation of "I’ve Never Been In Love Before." Still, the most emotionally affecting tune on this album has to be "Changing Partners", a beautiful Irving Berlin gem that merges a great melody with great lyrics. She even includes a Christmas tune, "Christmas Waltz," that was so inspired that even though it was the middle of June and 82 degrees outside as I listened to it, it made the holidays seem very near. And that’s quite a trick.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Cathy Menard
  • CD Title: Well Find A Way
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Red Dog Records
  • Musicians: Cathy Menard (vocals), Nancy Walker (piano), Pat Labarbera (saxophones), Duncan Hopkins (bass), Don McDougall (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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