You don’t have to know the story behind Can’t Get Out of This Mood, an intimate, exquisitely arranged collection of ballads introducing those beyond the L.A. jazz scene to the innumerable, world-wise vocal charms of Beverley Church Hogan, but it’s too fascinating and inspirational not to share.
In a nutshell, the Canadian born singer – who cut her teeth doing club dates in Montreal and U.S.O. type military shows – struck paydirt when she moved to L.A. and was offered a contract with Capitol Records. The contract demanded a 58 week tour, but Beverley, then newly married and the mother of a year old baby, declined. Decades after setting her musical dreams aside, she rediscovered them in the early 2000s at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, where she has performed annually since that time.
Now at the ripe young age of 84, Beverley proves that it’s never too late to take one’s career to the next level and share the music that’s been simmering in the heart. Drawing from slightly obscure Great American Songbook gems (“Wait Till You See Him,” “I’m Through With Love,” “Speak Low,” “Time After Time”) and more contemporary fare (“I Know You By Heart,” “Take My Breath Away,” Sondheim’s early 70’s showtune “Losing My Mind”), Beverley tells us her story by weaving a lush tapestry out of words penned by legends but deeply lived by her.
The lush yet subtle arrangements by pianist and producer John Proulx (her longtime accompanist) allow her voice to take the spotlight as she emotes eloquently and poetically about the various stages, phases, winnings, losings and longings of love. Proulx’s magic as the sonic architect here includes letting soloists like Ron Stout (trumpet/flugelhorn), Graham Dechter (guitar) and Doug Webb (saxophone) color the moods with solos that both mirror and underscore the singer’s emotions almost as if they were true duet partners.
If you listen deeply, you will slowly realize that there’s no way Beverley could have brought the same keen “been there so many times” kind of storytelling to these songs had she recorded them years ago. Sometimes, when the musical stars aligns, the Universe has the kind of timing that will, to paraphrase one of the titles here, take your breath away.