The stunning Catherine Gang is a new emerging talent within the jazz world. Her latest album ‘Setting New Standards’, in collaboration with The Mike Kemp Trio, is a crafted blend of original songs that stay true to traditional jazz styles; from up-tempo catchy numbers such as ‘Hold On Tight’ and ‘Mr. Right’s Right Here’ with a distinctly nostalgic reference to the 1940’s Big Band style, to slower swing ballads with an element of blues such as ‘Everlasting Blues’.
As the title suggests, these songs are ‘setting new standards’ within the 1940’s jazz idiom, written and performed by two people totally in love with the music of the era. Mike Kemp, an experienced and very competent jazz songwriter, has retained the authenticity of the era whilst adding his own spin with clever lyrics and catchy melodies. Catherine Gang brings not only her singing ability to the project; her enthusiasm, dedication, commitment and bubbly personality can be heard on all recordings. As she reflects on her experience working with Mike Kemp, she says, ‘It is rare, in this day and age, that you find someone capable of composing original vocal jazz charts with the style and sound of the 1940’s big band.’
This album provides the perfect backdrop to an evening of relaxation and entertainment. Catherine’s vibrant and expressive voice brilliantly complements Mike Kemp’s piano, transporting the listener back in time, as if part of a world resembling Humphrey Bogart’s Gin joint in Casablanca. The Piano Trio’s versatility of performance carries the seventeen songs on this album through a range of moods and traditional styles.
The seventeen songs on this CD were first written to be included in a show commemorating the life and work of a great fictional singer/ songwriter/ actress/ aviation tycoon called Janey Jerome. From her humble 1930s rural Kansas childhood to her mysterious 1987 disappearance that made headlines, these are some of her songs that the world would have grown to know and love. The songs, however, stand on their own; they make wonderful listening regardless of the purpose for which they were originally written.
So, sit back, relax, make yourself a Martini, and savour this truly enjoyable album!