Archive for the ‘joyofjazzconcerts’ Category

h1

Karin’s Q & A with vocalist Jaclyn Guillou

May 18, 2015
It’s Sunday May 17th and about 2 weeks from now American vocalist Kate McGarry (a favorite of mine and of vocalist Jaclyn Guillou) is coming to perform in Vancouver along with her wonderful guitarist husband Keith Ganz. There’s much excitement building up to their first ever Canadian performance. This will be the 3rd of the Joy Of Jazz Concert Series shows at St. James Hall.
I thought it might be fun to get Jaclyn’s perspective on Kate’s influence and appeal. Here is my little Q & A with Jaclyn’s thoughtful and detailed responses. Jaclyn is a wonderful vocalist and composer in her own right and has graciously taken the time to answer my questions while in the midst of recording her new album…
Kate-&-Keith
1. What in particular do you like about Kate’s style/approach to singing?
I have always been drawn to singers that have an open hearted rich quality to the way they express a story and lyrics. Singers like Betty Carter, Billie Holiday, Shirley Horn and Nancy King for example. Kate is amongst these singers, as she is deeply connected to the lyrics and also allows herself to draw closer to the music, exploring notes she would like to emphasize within the song. She honors the tradition and takes the melody to improvise around it in such a beautiful way without disrupting the lyrics. That is a hard thing to do. It is very apparent to me that she has an incredible amount of vocal technique but you can never “hear the technique” because her approach to the voice is expressed in an extremely natural way. That is what I love most about her singing. Above all, she spends time thinking about the arrangements and comes up with a unique interpretation that doesn’t distract from the original, it enhances it. And all of her choices, especially in her embellishments, come from within the message of the song. This creates a deep layered approach that brings so much more to the music and engages the listener to be able to hear the entire band surrounding her voice. I can listen to her albums over and over again experiencing new things each time.
2.  In what ways has the music of Kate McGarry influenced or informed your own style?
 Kate’s soloing has been the most inspiring thing. She has concrete ideas that don’t sound mechanical or cold. And while it’s easy to listen to, it’s not easy to transcribe, an example of her vast vocabulary and understanding of the changes on each tune.
Her arranging and overall general vibe of her albums have also been inspiring to me. Excluding her recent release, all of her recordings feature 2 chordal instruments (guitar and piano) with bass and drums in a quintet format and have arrangements that fully support her vocal choices. Her tunes yield a particular groove and vibe but don’t appear to feel dictated or overly arranged. It won’t always be a straight ahead or swing feel, maybe a slower straight 8ths tempo with everyone playing in the right places that lift her voice in a powerful way. In her albums Target & If Less Is More..Nothing Is Everything with Gary Versace & Keith Ganz there seems to be a collaborative sound going on which has certainly inspired me to be more part of the band.
3. Do you have favorite songs as recorded by Kate from her various acclaimed records over the years?
My favorite tracks of hers are sometimes tunes that I wasn’t too fond of or have been tired of hearing and she has converted me to become instantly in love with her versions. I remember feeling that way when I heard  “Can’t Help Loving That Man” from her duo album with Keith Ganz. I’ll name one favorite tune from each of her recordings: from The Target “It Might As Well Be Spring”, from Girl Talk “We Kiss In A Shadow”, from Less Is More “You’re My Thrill”, from Mercy Streets “How Deep Is The Ocean”, from Show Me “Gypsy In My Soul”.
4. The live record Genevieve & Ferdinand (except for one track) is a duo record with guitar/voice combination. Are there qualities you were able to hear in this record compared to other ensemble recordings which Kate has made?
I was certainly excited to hear her voice in this duo format because it truly is such a different thing playing duo! I am such a fan of Keith’s playing and it has been wonderful to hear him accompany her in such an acoustic way. The first time I heard Kate in concert 4 years ago was in duo with Keith so I know that the album must have been a long time coming. The intimate sound in her voice is highlighted on this album but it doesn’t feel like a departure from all her other recordings. It is a special treat that they shared this side of their playing for all of us to enjoy.
5. Kate is also a composer (as you are) What do you enjoy about her original compositions? 
In my opinion it is actually because Kate is a composer is what makes her a great interpreter. There is always a fresh approach to the tune regardless of whether she wrote it or not. In her own compositions I can appreciate the way that the lyrics and melody create a synthesis together. You don’t notice either one on its own so much which to me means that there are no sacrifices being made in order to find a more interesting note or word. They work as one and the feeling that exudes all of that is expressive and very much alive. Her song “Ten Little Indians” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music, it gets me every time.
6. If you were to describe what a new listener might experience at a Kate McGarry concert, what might you tell them in advance?
I would tell music lovers that despite whatever genres they might usually be interested in will not matter when it comes to this concert. That Kate & Keith will bring them into a whole new world of sound, so they should go for the experience of that. If you are looking for music that is real and without pretense, this will be a delight.
7. How did you personally discover Kate McGarry’s music?
I was first introduced to Kate by way of Randy Porter (piano player from Portland) who was working with me on my first album. We were discussing various singers and he was going through a list of all his favorites and all of a sudden he stopped dead in his tracks and said “You know Kate McGarry right? If you don’t, you must check her out right away! That’s your kind of singing, I just know it.” A few months later I drove 4 hours to Tacoma, Washington in the pouring rain to see her play. A night I will never forget!
So dear reader….if you’re reading this and it is not yet Sunday May 31st you still have a chance to obtain tickets to see this remarkable duo perform in Vancouver at St. James Hall. Go to http://www.joyofjazzconcerts.com
In closing here’s a little pic of us on stage at “Strong Women Strong Music” (Jaclyn Guillou & Karin Plato) from about a year ago now…
Jaclyn-&-Karin