Pony Boy Records
Katy Bourne’s route to jazz has been peripatetic to say the least. Back in the 1980s, when her focus was fully on acting and writing, she bounced from Oklahoma to Iowa to New Mexico to the Northeast. In 1992 she took an extended break, re-emerging a few years later as lead singer for two Seattle-based blues bands. Soon afterward she discovered teacher Greta Matassa and concurrently unleashed her inner jazz stylist.
Now, at last, Bourne has released her debut album, a shining introduction to a vocalist who can swing as elegantly as the young Nancy Wilson while invading a lyric with both the insightfulness of Anita O’Day and the smolder of Julie London. Bourne, superbly assisted by a top-drawer foursome of local players—bassist Doug Miller, drummer Steve Korn, guitarist Chris Spencer and, most impressively, pianist Randy Halberstadt—focuses primarily on time-honored standards, ranging from a purringly frolicsome “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” to a dove-soft “True Love.”
Toward the end of this 12-track set, she visits more contemporary material with even greater success. Dave Frishberg’s too-rarely heard “Our Love Rolls On” is fittingly unfurled in gentle waves of fatalistic contentment. “Our Day Will Come” is utterly refreshed atop a bouncy bossa beat. But the session’s apex is Bourne and Halberstadt’s seven-minute, dream-state meander through the shadows of Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress.”