Katie Bull: Love Spook (2005)
There seem to be more singers today than ever before, but along with that development come a few who are turning around the notion of just what a singer does and can do. Katie Bull is called a multimedia artist, and that notion informs her every note here. She knows the repertoire and she knows the vocabulary but she also has the sense of drama and choreography that speak to the expansion of the whole field of singing.
The album opens with the title cut, and as that implies, it's a dark, unsettling piece that offers a different picture of what love can mean. Joe Fonda's bass provides the insistent underpinning for this disturbing yet rich portrait, but the painting also makes full use of the brilliant storytelling drums of Matt Wilson and the evocative piano of Frank Kimbrough, who knows about space and timing.
Equally revealing is what Bull does with a tune we know. Her vamp intro to the Sound of Music ditty "My Favorite Things includes some things that it seems Misters Rodgers and Hammerstein might never have considered as favorite. Or maybe they would have but could not have expressed them with the passion and conviction that Katie Bull does. Coltrane had changed this tune for all timewe thoughtbut Bull has changed it again.
Bull titles another original "Strange and indeed it iswith its mysterious wordless intro and then simple repeated lyricsbut this is strange in the best meaning of the word, with a sense of wonder and new differences to be celebrated. And that's what Bull and her bandmates do in all of these performancescelebrate new beginnings so that even old material never seems overly familiar.
Personnel: Katie Bull - vocals; Joe Fonda, Martin Wind - bass; Frank Kimbrough, Michael Jefry Stevens - piano; Matt Wilson - drums.
Record Label: Corn Hill Indie