Many jazz singers get so obsessed with deep groove pockets and swinging that they focus more on big production and instrumentation than the purity of their natural instrument. On The Heart Already Knows - her first album in seven years - veteran vocalist Kate Reid blissfully engages in quite the opposite approach, vibing exquisitely on lush but sparsely arranged duets with five brilliant veteran musicians, four of which she had never worked with before.
It’s a concept which adds to the freshness and spontaneity of a true journey of musical discovery. There’s cool swing here and there, but Kate’s arrangements are wondrously subtle, drawing us in like 11 exclusive personal invitations. Her deeply sensual, dusky voice gently opens the door to intimate, slyly seductive jazz conversations with guitarists Paul Meyers, Larry Koonse and Romero Lubambo and multi-Grammy nominated pianists from two generations, Fred Hersch and Taylor Eigsti.
The collection, gracefully produced by longtime friend and renowned New York Voices co-founder Peter Eldridge, features a compelling mix of wonderful lesser known tunes by James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, Hersch and Eldridge originals (including “Minds of Their Own,” adapted from an Ivan Lins composition), and a few Duke Ellington classics.
Intriguingly, the title of the album does not come from one of the song titles. My guess is it’s about the intuitive musical exchanges between Kate and her cohorts. The repartee begins with one note or vocal intonation and everything follows naturally from there because, somehow, somewhere deep down, the heart already knows where the music and the magic is headed.