Kitty Margolis

Straight Up With a Twist

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Kitty Margolis' third recording for her Madkat label is certainly her most varied and eccentric. Each of the 13 selections has its share of surprises, with Kitty's regular sextet joined by several guest players, most notably including trumpeter Roy Hargrove (heard in a supporting role on three numbers) and Charles Brown (featured in vocal duets with Margolis on a playful version of "The 'In' Crowd" and a barely recognizable "Wouldn't It Be Loverly"). The usually childlike "Gettin' To Know You" is given a complex but logical arrangement that utilizes Kitty's overdubbed voices, the sensuous classic "Fever" is taken in 7/4 time, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" gives the singer a chance to shine over Brazilian rhythms, and Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud" is made funky, given new lyrics and renamed "In Walked Bean." Other interesting moments include Kitty showing off her bop chops on "My Romance," getting lowdown on "Today I Sing The Blues," and concluding "Speak Low" in surprising fashion by showing off her interest in Indian music with some very odd wordless vocalizing over the closing vamp. Kitty Margolis' continually intriguing set (which is much less bop-oriented than her previous efforts) also has a few misses, but overall is a strong step forward.

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