January 2006 |Vol. 3 No. 12 [Print edition]
After All These Years | House Kat Records
Review by George Harris
It's really gotten to the point where it's almost impossible to find a vocal CD that doesn't feature standards anymore. The wake of Diana Krall has created fear in the heart of almost any singer trying to make a living to veer slightly from the great American songbook. Three cheers, therefore, to vocalist/pianist Ginny Carr, who has written each of the songs on her remarkably clever After All These Years. Blessed with a sugary voice that has a slight wink in the eye, Carr and her air-tight band swing as a unit, allowing enough space for dynamic group interplay and soloing. Both "Make the Day Go Away" and "Weren't For You" feature excellent small group jamming with Chuck Redd's vibes weaving in and out of Carr's rhythm. Her work at creating a small-club cabaret feel is best exemplified on works like "Try Again" and the witty "Valentine's Day." But the selling point of this CD is the impressive writing, particularly the lyrics. I don't think I've ever heard a song that rhymed a lyric with "foment" before, but there it is in "Love Me Till it Hurts." Ditto for the ingenious working of "upheaval" with "primeval." This is the work of someone who knows her way around a composition. Each song has it’s moments, and beg to become part of a standard repertoire. Maybe Diana could come up with something.
Ginny Carr "After All These Years"
IT'S EASY TO cheer a jazz artist for recording original material instead of jumping on the crowded "Great American Songbook" bandwagon. Easy, that is, until midway through the recording you find yourself wishing for something half as smart as Cole Porter or half as lyrical as Rodgers and Hart.
Fortunately, Ginny Carr's new CD, "After All These Years," doesn't leave you wishing for anything other than more of the same. A Washington-based singer-songwriter and pianist well-known for her work with the Uptown Jazz Vocal Quartet, Carr clearly has invested a lot of time and all of her talents in this project, and it's paid off nicely.
Her lyrics are always several cuts above the average, which is evident from the outset when she unveils the sultry charmer "Love Me Till It Hurts" and muses: "This will never go/How the Brothers Grimm foretold." Or on "Valentine's Day," when she comments on the devaluation of classic pop: "What would Hart and Rodgers say/'Bout the murder of mystique/Hearing every diva warble on/About her figure less than Greek/Their lovely song's become the anthem of sap/The way it's treated nowadays/It's as inspiring as a nap." Then there's "The Piano," which boasts another shrewdly phrased lyric: "Just what we need/another song about a fool who didn't know/How not to be a fool/Maudlin indeed."
But it's not just impressive songwriting that makes this 15-track collection a no-nap zone. Carr has framed her appealing and flexible voice with delightful and often swinging piano-based arrangements. Among the musicians lending a hand: guitarist Paul Pieper, vibist Chuck Redd, saxophonist Chris Vadala and, sure enough, the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet.
- Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
Jazz singer Ginny Carr is a chanteuse determined to
re-write our beloved American Songbook. As an inveterate composer of song, I
affirm that she's paid her dues in this regard! This is the real deal!! Her
original renditions are punctuated & tempered by a great depth of expressive
vocalise which one can assume is balanced by both journeyman maturity & hard
work. The frosting is the realization that all that you hear is from her
composer's heart & soul. Could Ginny be our new real time national treasure? Go
out there & buy her
fine disc & you'll find out. You can reach Ginny @:Ginny Carr @ hotmail.com. This CD project is a study in a limitless diversity of vocal texture & viable instrumental contrast offset by some very animated original music. Super stuff....
- George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman