Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Collection of Kat Walker's cd reviews

Jazz Skat Gumbo/Kat Walker (2009)

Jazz Skat Gumbo is a blend of the “feel” that only New Orleans can deliver. Vocalist Kat Walker is the guide through the French Quarter back streets of sound. Ms. Walker’s new CD, Jazz Skat Gumbo, is a collection of select traditional compliments, if you will, performed with gifted New Orleans jazz musicians that grace this honored stage we call New Orleans.

Kat’s gritty vocals are unique and very inviting and when she adds her attitude by scatting, it brings each track to its true vibrancy.

Saxophonist, Dominick Grillo respects Kat’s adventurous vocal style. Pianist, Bart Ramsey bonds the mix with a yesteryear stride piano movement and its relevant overtone throughout the CD. You can sample the flavor on “I Got Rhythm.”

Jazz Skat Gumbo is a satisfying, “sculpted with tradition” jazz performance. The NOLA heat comes alive in this spin. Ms. Walker is the fun “heavy with heat” artist which adds a surprise tease in each song, thus maintaining the audience in the groove and keeping the listener attentive throughout the project.

TRACKS OF INTEREST: It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing, I Got Rhythm,
Posted by: editoron Sunday, December 13, 2009 - 10:22 PM

Karl Stober


"Kat is a vocal Diva in Jazz and with the great standards served up by a very professional and great group of musicians that makes this CD a feast for the trained ears in Jazz. No need for a napkin, you will not want to miss a drop of this fine music, Lean back and Enjoy!"
Joost van Steen, Alphen Stad 105.4FM The Netherlands


UK publication The Borderland (Musicwatch #14
John M. Peters

Kat Walker - Jazz Skat Gumbo

As you would imagine from the album title vocalist Kat Walker's new album is a fun album of jazz classics in the New Orleans style. From the opening bars of It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) you know you are in for a fun time. Kat Walker is a husky voiced enchantress luring you into that smoke-filled club where a hot band is giving a dance vibe. Track two, Cry Me River, is played at a much faster tempo than usual and works well in this different form. The quartet supporting Ms Walker are very good indeed, and kudos go to Bart Ramsey on piano, Dominick Grillo on sax, Spike Perkins on bass and Dennis O'Toole on drums for creating jazz heaven. The fourteen tracks on this CD are a good  start in anyone's guide to the classic jazz songbook: My Favourite Things, Fever, The Lady Is A Tramp, Am I Blue, Mack The Knife, I Got Rhythm, Ain't Misbehavin' are all amongst the goodies. The overriding impression of Jazz Skat Gumbo is that is all good
vibes, warmth and a love of the material. Ms Walker has swing in abundance, and warmth and good humour in her voice, plus the ability to sound as if she is in the room with you reaching out to get you on your feet as she sings. There is really nothing to dislike about this album, it is a summer sizzler and a winter warmer, able to get you out of any blues you have fallen into.

By Debra D'Amato In Hollywood Magazine at inmag.com

Kat Walker is one talented woman. Her rich, earthy voice and unique style lure the listener to pure delight.

There is a feeling of joy from hearing her upbeat renditions of these jazz and other classics sung in such a way as to make you feel like you are right there with her. She is the kind of singer that makes you stop what ever you are doing, sit down and be enveloped by the music.

Each song is a well rounded journey with lots of fun vocal surprises. Her choices of musicians back her up beautifully with their own talents to make this a sweet treat of a CD.

For more visit www.KatWalker.com.
Kat Walker – Jazz Skat Gumbo
Released – April 14, 2009

Ms. Walker is a multi-talented entertainer from New Orleans.  She and her band press it to the floorboard from the start – this disc is a fun romp through fourteen standards.

I don’t think I’ve heard “Cry Me A River” at this tempo before – but it’s working for them; and for me, too.

“When You’re Smiling” showcases Ms. Walker’s ability to scat, and also features an exhibition of Dominick Grillo’s talent on saxophone.  The group’s treatment of “Mack The Knife” is also a favorite of mine, along with “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in a swingy 3/4 time.

I’ll just bet Ms. Walker and her band are a hoot in person.  Bart Ramsey on piano, drummer Dennis O’Toole and Spike Perkins on Bass round out the group.

Straight-ahead good stuff, this.  Freebies are at the website, but you’ll want the whole thing.

This disc is highly recommended.

August 2nd, 2009 by dwboynton
All About Jazz, The World's Largest Jazz Music  Website

At first brush, Kat Walker's Jazz Skat Gumbo appears to be just one more collection of jazz standards sung by one of the deluge of singers streaming into the already crowded jazz vocals market. Kat Walker indeed sings the standards, but she and her band hail from New Orleans, a fact that adds a decidedly Southern richness and complexity to the performances. This does not manifest as an incorporation of Dixieland elements, but rather an earthier, peatier quality to the songs, a quality first realized in Walker's slightly odd and raspy voice.
Walker's voice is unusual in that it is not exactly pretty, but it is unique, accurate, and precise, not unlike that of Louis Armstrong's. She adds a sensual edge to her singing that complements the two-fisted barrel-piano playing of Bart Ramsey, who propels all of the selections with his assertive style. Tenor saxophonist Dominick Grillo does not mire himself with prim balladic niceties, instead opting for an almost Texas Tenor approach; full bore and wide open. The sum of this is that these performances are gleefully more "Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer" than "Moonlight in Vermont."
Walker and company's approach is best heard on a bossa "Cry Me A River" and an extra humid "Fever." Ramsey wedges solos into the pieces sideways, giving them the overall structure of a cubist painting. Grillo demands attention when soloing, affairs all well conceived and performed. "Ain't Misbehavin" and "Over the Rainbow" are special treats, each presented with a swinging momentum. Walker's interpretations satisfy the desire for the standard fare performed in a non-standard manner. This is beautifully funky, viral, infectious music.

By C. Michael Bailey           

Track listing: It Don't Mean a Thing; Cry Me a River; My Favorite Things; Fever; The Lady Is a Tramp; Am I Blue; When You're Smilin; Mack the Knife; Bobbie Mcgee; Loverman; I Got Rhythm Hernando's Hideaway; Ain't Misbehavin'; Over the Rainbow.
Personnel: Kat Walker: vocals; Bart Ramsey: piano; Dominick Grillo: saxophone; Spike Perkins: bass; Dennis O'Toole: drums.
Style: Vocal
Published: July 28, 2009
Improvijazzation Nation


Kat Walker - JAZZ SKAT GUMBO: This lady has one husky vocal presence... &
her scat is magic personified... you won't believe your ears when you listen
to her rendition of "Bobby
McGee"... so many try to imitate Janis' when doing this tune, but Kat owns
this version, no doubt; Bart Ramsey's boogie street piano has much to do
with the pure energy in the music (as well as bouncin' bass from Spike
Perkins, totally there tenor sax from Dominick Grillo & dynamic drumming
from Dennis O' Toole), but when Walker moves into scat mode near the end of
the song, you just want her to keep the tune going forever. You'll
undoubtedly connect the album title with N'Awleans from the "Gumbo"
reference, as well you should, since that's where Kat & the whole krew hail
from... & it's that same raw, down-home approach to music, with a big gob o'
gleefulness that will have you dancin' right along with them on my favorite
track, "I
F8&catalogItemType=track&ASIN=B0028EYH96&CustomerID=A1P85CBE22RD8E> Got
Rhythm"! I don't think I've understood the fun that music can evoke until
listening to this dynamic woman of jazz from the home of it all... I give
this a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any jazz listener who wants their mood to
be elevated to the clouds & beyond. Get more information at
www.katwalker.com Rotcod Zzaj
Chicago, IL - A singer with a history as a performance artist with other stops along the way gets in touch with her inner Nawlins jazz singer and serves up an interesting set. A singer that's paying for the date that knows how to lay out and let the instrumentalists heat things up? Pretty interesting already.  With the kind of whiskey soaked voice we're all such suckers for, Walker works through a set of standards with a few coming from unexpected places and all having change ups that make them fresh and she simply knows how to be a first class entertainer. More of a sneaky pomo (post-modern, a province for contemporary hipsters) date than an item for the traditional jazz vocal fan, Walker is really making traditional music for those who think young, as she seems to herself. Great fun for playing in the car with the windows rolled down (ok, that part is our Chicago perspective. You're free to dig this in your own fashion. Just dig it.)
Review by: Chris Spector, Midwest Record Report, Volume 32/Number 266
AUGUSTA, GA - It seems impossible that Kat Walker could have picked a better name for her latest release. “Jazz Skat Gumbo” is exactly that – a big pot of mixed up sounds that sooths the aches, pains, and hunger of today’s music scene. Wrapped around wonderful classic instrumental jams, Walker’s soft soothing voice beckons listeners back to the days of smoke filled coffee shops and the sounds of lighting flavored tobacco in an alleyway. Gripping onto the emotional strings, this collection is an effort at passion built within a wall of beautiful noise.

Part of the beauty of this recording is the use of classic tracks mixed within a scat framework.  From the smooth opening “It Don’t Mean a Thing” to the powerful close of “Over the Rainbow,” this record creates a powerful sense of joy throughout, which allows a listener to leave behind the moment for the sweet caress of a trance all its own. Powerful items like “Fever,” “Cry Me a River,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Loverman” create a sense of fashionable panic that brings back the memories these songs helped create in earlier days, and the spirited rendition of “Bobbie McGee” alone is worth the price of admission to this particular fantasy.

Wrapped in a mechanism of spirited jazz and diverse vocal rhythms, Kat Walker’s gumbo is the perfect lunch for the jazz enthusiast longing for the raw freedom of days gone by.
issue #20.52 :: 07/22/2009 - 07/28/2009  Metro Spirit weekly newspaper
Kat Walker
"Jazz Skat Gumbo"

Kat Walker, Jazz Skat Gumbo
Review By: Jeff Becker jazzsensibilities.blogspot.com
Year: 2009
Purchase Link: CD Baby
Personnel: Personnel: Kat Walker: vocals; Bart Ramsey: piano; Dominick Grillo: saxophone; Spike Perkins: bass; Dennis O'Toole: drums.

Greasy, spicy and delicious, no I am not talking about food; I am talking about the debut CD from Kat Walker Jazz Skat Gumbo. Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm this is hot New Orleans swing and Walker serves it up with authenticity.

At first listen you could mistake this CD as one of the many vocal jazz albums with countless renditions of well-worn standards, which would be an oversight; this CD is rich with the southern red clay and double fisted barrel house piano of juke joints.

For this review we will focus on “It Don’t Mean A Thing, (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” The band leads off with a full form setting up this swingin’ rendition, pianist Bart Ramsey’s “stride-ish” left hand counterpoint creates a nice pad under Walker’s vocals. You can almost hear Kat smile when she comes in, her vocals are bouncing, fun and in the pocket. Her voice is whiskey soaked and like a fine weathered horn. The first solo is embarked on by Ramsey; he uses chromaticism to turn up the heat to a boil. Reedman, Dominick Grillo heads straight to the kitchen ala Sam Butera style and adds his spice to the gumbo. Bassist, Spike Perkins and drummer Dennis O’ Toole take their turn in the sous chef seat and add in their zesty creole into the mix. To tie up the meal Kat Walker sprinkles in a bit of “vocal scat” making this dish a tangy delight.

Infectious, fun and just enough zing to make it swing. A nice calling card for a debut CD, Jazz Skat Gumbo will leave you satisfied.

If you're going to do a scat CD, why not kick it off with the quintessential scat song everyone
knows? That's exactly what Kat Walker does in opening this 14-track collection with "It Don't Mean
a Thing (If it Ain't Got That Swing)," and it sets the stage nicely for the other songs to come.
Walker, a talented visual artist as well as a talented vocal artist, takes on some the most popular
classics in the Great American Songbook and gives them each a neat little twist with her artistic flair
for expressionism.

With nonsensical monosyllabic sounds that rarely, if ever, come out as actual words, scat singing
could be likened to abstract visual art; open to the interpretation of the artist as well as the audience.
Infusing parts of nearly all the songs with these abstractions, she manages to pull it off well in a
sweet bouncy alto voice. Backed up by a first-rate band of Frenchman Street "regulars" Bart
Ramsey on piano, Spike Perkins on bass, Dominick Grillo on tenor sax, and Dennis O' Toole on
drums, plus the technical wizardry of Tim Stambaugh of Word of Mouth Studio, Walker couldn't
have picked a better dream team for her recording debut. All of the musicians are given their
moments in the sun and they shine brightly. ~Dean M. Shapiro, Where Y'AT (New Orleans)


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