It need come as no surprise that the cookie-cutter syndrome should be present, like some sort of incurable virus in the art of music. The great violinist Nigel Kennedy identified the disease correctly when he said (speaking of the classical music realm) that music academies and record companies were colluding to produce ”factory lines” of pianists and violinists. Dalya Alberge writing in The Guardian (November 16, 2016) said that he claimed “in being made to focus too heavily on technique and the pursuit of perfection, gifted musicians have become so terrified of playing a wrong note that individuality is being stifled.” As usual, Kennedy was en point, not only regarding pianists and violinists, but perhaps the entire spectrum of musicians performing in the studio and on stage. In the Jazz realm, the problem is even more acute. However, thank heavens for a musician and vocalist like Katharine Timoney.
The Northern Ireland singer has released her first album, Man of Mine and if the album doesn’t cause ripples on its way across the great pond, I should be very surprised. There is something viscerally exciting in the vocal manner of Katharine Timoney. She paints lyrics to music – such as ‘Body and Soul’ – which you thought you might be familiar with, now in the burnished glow of crepuscular magic, poured into a beckoning contralto that one is hard-pressed to resist. Her version of ‘Shame’ heavily laden with bitter irony and ‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ is couched in the sensuous whisper of coarse silk. Most vocalists of Timoney’s generation would be hard-pressed not only to feel so deeply about love in its myriad of facets, much less live to tell the tale. However, she seems to have defied all the odds. Moreover, in the pathos of her narratives, Katharine Timoney seems to be possessed of a storyteller who is a canny illustrator of her chronicles as well. Her colours are born of an earthy palette that broad and nuanced.
Katharine Timoney is just starting out on a musical sorjourn that is surely going to take her places. She will collect experiences which will add to the extraordinary wealth of those she seems to have already had. She is bound to grow in erudition and if she resists the efforts to make her productions more sleek and stylish at no small cost to her natural manner, she will beat a system and remain a fresh voice in music. For now, though, she ought to me very happy with the start she has made. This recording is a sign that she has leaped well over the first hurdle designed to beat her into cookie-cutting submission.
Track List: Paris; Being in Love; Body and Soul; I Wish I Could Say That I’m Fine; Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man; Shame; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; Man of Mine.
Personnel: Katharine Timoney: vocals; Scott Flanigan: piano; Rod Patterson: bass; Steve Davis: drums; Dave Howell: saxophone; Rick Swann: trumpet.