Kate McGarry

 

Girl Talk Palmetto ****

For the past decade, US vocalist Kate McGarry has been honing her delicate fusion of jazz and folk, informed as much by Joni Mitchell as by Sarah Vaughan. Now she delves into the tradition of female jazz singers with an album that is more pure jazz than any of her previous offerings, egged on by a hard-swinging band of heavy hitters, including pianist Gary Versace and drummer Clarence Penn. McGarry’s flexible, blues-inflected voice is well up to the task, transforming the title track, with its patronising, unreconstructed lyrics, into a knowing commentary on sexual politics. Elsewhere, singer Kurt Elling joins her for an almost indecent duet on Dori Caymmi’s O Cantador sung in the original Portuguese, the two vocalists fizzing with chemistry. Beautifully produced and played, at first Girl Talk seems to be all charm, but repeated listenings prove that, like many “girl” singers before her, McGarry has found hidden depths in the sometimes shallow lyrics of the great American songbook. katemcgarry.com  CORMAC LARKIN