Favorite

Rhythm & Views 

Kathleen Grace Band

Kathleen Grace's soprano playfully flirts with and swoops around the melodies on her third album, Mirror, an entirely satisfying, if brief, set of songs that will draw comparisons for Grace to the great Nancy Wilson. Both singers offer voices that are rich, warm and elegant, bridging jazz and pop with effortless, um, grace.

A Los Angeles-based jazz singer and songwriter, Grace is a former Tucsonan. She celebrates the summer storms of her desert hometown in the form of the tune "Elijah," on which her voice turns smoky and melancholy while her band--especially guitarist Perry Smith and pianist Matt Politano--creates an ethereal backdrop.

In fact, on all of Grace's six original compositions, along with one cover, the musicians more than ably support her careful balance of pop sensibility, smooth jazz and Broadway-style melodic inventions. They help create a sound that feels both traditional and cutting-edge.

Grace's singing is smooth and articulate, not unlike that of contemporaries Tierney Sutton or Lisa Ekdahl, but she's also unafraid to tackle unconventional phrasing, such as on "Penny," which elides "new music," Kurt Weill and off-kilter circus music.

Grace and band close the album by taking on Randy Newman's bruised "Let Me Go," which combines antebellum Americana and insouciant blues. But her "Am I Enough Yet" is the album's highlight, a way-cool sliver of hip attitude that may remind some listeners of Les McCann's soul-jazz hit "Compared to What." The only weakness in that track (which is less than three minutes long) afflicts the album as a whole: There's not enough of it.

More by Gene Armstrong

  • Primer

    Tony Furtado
    • May 29, 2014
  • Wills Meets Reinhardt

    L.A.'s Cow Bop blends bebop and Western swing into a superbly danceable combo
    • May 22, 2014
  • Finding (the Eighth) Mr. Right

    Superb performances drive the '60s satire of Live Theatre Workshop's Loot
    • May 15, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Food Truck Frenzy at Tucson Hop Shop

Crooked Teeth and a New Brewery

The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do in Tucson in the Next Seven Days

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation