It Had to Be You
From Denver, comes the dulcet tones of jazz diva Dianne Reeves and now from the town of Minturn comes another Colorado songstress who aslo finds herself on a fast track. She's Kathy Morrow, a splendid vocalist, who can get up close to a ballad and then sprint through a scat chorus with amazing spirit and enthusiasm. Put simply, the singer seems to be on a Rocky Mountain High--a lot of peaks but no valleys. Morrow has surrounded herself, and very wisely so, with quality soulmates who by and large hail from the Denver area. While most may be unfamiliar to those who frequent the fesitval circuit, the name, Al Hermann, should set off an alarm. For years, the trombonist was featured with the Summit Ridge Jazz Band out of Denver. Comparisons are often unfair, but Morrow's phrasing and sultry voice bring Diana Krall to mind although at this stage ot their respective careers, Morrow is more energetic and Krall is more polished. Morrow sets up the set with a groovy reading of 'That Old Devil Moon' a performance punctuated by the presence of Bob Montgomery playing muted trumpet; the hornman also makes solid contributions on the overworked Ellington compostions, 'Caravan' that also makes space for the gifted Hermann. A second Ellington song is on the list: 'It Don't Mean A Thing' that again showcases the talents of Montgomery and Hermann as well as bassist Tom Paxton and timekeeper Allan Finney along with the songstress, who establishes herself as a genuine scat cat. Morrow comes close to matching Peggy Lee's sensuous version of 'Fever' and 'Lovers' shows how well she can swing a band that also gets a shot in the arm with a text-book artistry Jeff Jenkins on a Hammond B-3. And 'Wave' shows Morrow's appreciaton for the bossa, while she and the group take the Latin route for 'What A Difference A Day Makes' that also offers meaningful inventions by guitarist Bill Kopper. Other album highlights include Morrow's warm treatment and tenorman, Tom Kirk's, expressive chorus on 'The Nearness Of You,' the singer's hushed take of the title track which again displays Hermann's impressive ideas; and a mellowed-out 'Moonglow' with Morrow and Hermann again sharing the honors. Cam Miller, The American Rag, August 2005.