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  • Jonathan Widran


Considering how prolific and inventive Cathy Segal-Garcia has been these past few years, there are not a whole lot more superlatives I can reach for when she puts out another classic inventive jazz-inflected gem that meets our collective moment. Yet the multi-faceted singer, songwriter and vocal interpreter’s latest single “Sermonette” – which follows on the sensual, soulful heels of her equally brilliant, socially conscious romp through Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” – calls not only for a flurry of wild adjectives, but some sort of divine channeling find an accurate way to share its potential impact on an open-minded human heart.

Simply stated, it’s a stunning, soul-rousing gospel/jazz jam that rolls like an inspirational, five-minute feel-good revival, with some amazing improvisational solos complementing the handclapping, knee-slapping praise dance and empowering message. You know, to remind us this is a jazz date recorded with master musicians and not actually an extended sound bite from a tent revival, reminding us what we need to, as Cathy so artfully sings, “live in peace and happiness.”

Like fine wine, great music sometimes takes time to age properly reach our palette perfectly. The singer finished the recording in L.A. in 2019 with Carey Frank (Hammond B-3), Osamu McGregor (acoustic piano), Brad Dutz (percussion) and Bill Redd and Irene Cathaway (backing vocals). Secondly, it’s one of those rare re-workings where an intuitive contemporary artist builds upon the original with original bits of wit, wisdom and poetic magic.

Not many artists would dare to add to the genius of Jon Hendricks, but Cathy gives the song much more depth with lines like “That the love you feel for eachother. . .That has the power to heal the world. . .If you go ahead and act on your power . . .You’re gonna feel that love all around you/And live in peace and happiness!”

Her additional lyrics, which came to Cathy as she was flying to the UK to work on the initial sessions, are especially timely to us now after having lived through this difficult year. Cathy says, “The lyrics Jon wrote spoke to me. Those ideas are where I live.” The world will be an infinite better place if more choose to live right there. Preach!


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