The skill and obvious musical compatibility of these two musicians ensures that the recording here is a success…
Cathy Segal-Garcia (vocals); Phillip Strange (piano)
Recorded Osaka, Japan, December 1992.
This two CD collection offers two and a half hours of duets by Ms Segal-Garcia and pianist Phillip Strange. They had been touring Japan and Europe for some years at the time and had previously recorded a quartet disc and an earlier duo session. You might wonder why it has taken so long for this set to be released but small DAT tapes can easily be left in drawers or on shelves and forgotten. The music consists of 21 standards, all familiar which includes three Christmas songs as the recording was done in December.
These two compliment each other very well, both are skilled performers who know how to set up and sustain the right sort of mood and ambience for each selection. Cathy has a flexible voice which she uses to good effect. There is plenty of variety in the material chosen and the way they vary their interpretations. Ms Segal-Garcia gives a warm if sombre reading of Holiday’s ‘God Bless The Child,’ and her partner knows just how to provide a gentle but full backing at the keyboard. Here and on the other pieces on offer he is a full, two handed pianist, providing improvised lines with a strong bass on his solos.
Cathy is quietly lyrical in her reading of ‘When You Wish Upon A Star,’ and also on the other ballads. With up tempo selections such as ‘Taking A Chance On Love,’ and ‘This Can’t Be Love,’ she sings with verve, using a little scat to vary the mood and dynamics. Variation and flexibility are the key words in recitals of this kind which can sound great in the intimate spaces of a club but sometimes fall short when played back on record. The skill and obvious musical compatibility of these two musicians ensures that the recording here is a success and, judging by the enthusiastic applause, so was the live show.
Reviewed by Derek Ansell