The Story, So Far [DVD/CD]

Katie Bull

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The Story, So Far [DVD/CD] Review

by Michael G. Nastos

For her third CD, extrovert jazz vocalist Katie Bull is shown in renaissance dress, alongside complementary angel/jester-princess/pauper-beauty/beast line-drawn graphics on the artwork of The Story, So Far, reflecting a part of an escapist off-stage fantasy life. But don't let that fool you, for although her original lyrics are poetic and at times abstract, they are thoroughly modern and reflect current themes of the human condition, and not days of old. Between expert pianist Frank Kimbrough or Michael Jefry Stevens, and drummers Matt Wilson or Harvey Sorgen, Bull has rhythmic and melodic partners enough to challenge her eccentricities. After listening for even a brief time, you realize she possesses a most flexible, strong, articulate, attractive voice, scatting occasionally, and her ideas go far beyond love-love. She poses ultimate either/or questions on "Which?," is smothering in her over dramatic self-consciousness during the "I" drenched "Half-Full," offers consolation with just Stevens on the ballad waltz "A Song for Hudson's Heart," encouragement to move forward during "Go Ahead," and debates love or friendship on "I Should've Known." At her most spatial and free, she reflects on nature as home for "Topanga Canyon," and is politically charged in a Kurt Weill film noir tinged statement on the Iraq invasion, war casualties, and Bush's foreign policy, opening with the line "I am dead" on "Wake Up Time." She sings three standards, uniquely stamped with her alternately spoken and sung style on "For All We Know," uses off-minor inflections opposite Jeff Lederer's similarly toned soprano sax for "There Will Never Be Another You, " and has a ball tearing up "Twisted" using split-personality overdubbed vocals. Bull has a fertile imagination that matches her style. She's far from cutesy or coy, which is refreshing, and displays a larger emotional range that presents an alternative to Patricia Barber, Cassandra Wilson, and the current crop of romantic standard song singers. Check out Katie Bull, she's one-of-a-kind. [There is an accompanying DVD with bonus tracks not found on the CD.]

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Katie Bull Amazon
2 Katie Bull Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick