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  • Jonathan Widran

CATHY SEGAL-GARCIA, Straight Ahead to the U.K.

One of L.A.’s most prolific and wildly eclectic jazz songwriters and vocal interpreters, Cathy Segal-Garcia shares a tune on her latest album, the marvelously adventurous and supremely hip and quirky Straight Ahead to the U.K., that perfectly captures the deepest essence of her restless musical soul. Yet the spirited, rambunctious and bluesy “Gypsy In My Soul” (featuring Carey Frank’s snazzy B-3 foundations) is just one of the infectious delights on collection whose poignant back story brings deeper emotional resonance and historical perspective to the mix.

Decades after the breakup of their young romance, UK based saxophonist Andy MacIntosh reconnected with Segal-Garcia on Facebook and invited her to record with some of England’s top jazz players. The reunion inspired great creative fruit and the sessions, including a smartly sassy duet with fellow vocalist Norma Winstone of “Hippityville,” a John Abercrombie tune the singer wrote lyrics to in college, proved to be a blast. We’ve never heard them before because they were shelved after McIntosh passed away in 2013.

Project executive producer Dan Davilla heard her talking about it on a broadcast and agreed to bring the original tracks up to date, with fresh vocals by Segal-Garcia and an exciting cadre of L.A. jazz cats. The set features a handful of originals and her imaginative, sharply arranged interpretations of gems by everyone from Chick Corea (“Highwire”) and Dave Frishberg (“Wheelers and Dealers”) to Hoagy Carmichael (“I Get Aong Without You”) and Julian Adderley/Jon Hendricks, whose “Sermonette” is delivered by Garcia with a transcendent gospel energy.

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