Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Cathy Segal-Garcia: Secret Life

Boston-raised, Berklee-trained, L.A.-based singer-songwriter Cathy Segal-Garcia claims she has, with this sixth CD, concocted an entirely new music category. She calls it “alternative jazz,” and describes it as a “mix of world music, jazz, pop, R&B.” I hate to be the one to break it to her, but dozens of others have been doing much the same for years now, each with a unique stylistic recipe that can aptly be dubbed “alternative.”

But if Segal-Garcia’s ambitious desire to keep fingers in various musical pots isn’t precisely original, she can be credited with doing so with admirable vividness. With a voice that suggests the mid-career Carly Simon, Segal-Garcia exhibits an earthiness that is both compelling and entrancing. Apart from her debut solo disc, Point of View, Segal-Garcia has focused most of her studio attention on standards. Here, she returns (apart from a nicely funktified “Save Your Love for Me”) to an all-originals playlist. As a lyricist, she is capable and wise, if not startlingly inventive. Her explorations of love, friendship and spirituality are thoughtfully crafted and certainly deliver on her promise of genre-spanning influences, yet seem rather prosaic. Far more interesting are “Miko Oiwake,” which speaks with fragile beauty of her love for Japanese culture, tradition and history, and her expansive, exuberant “The Song,” a soaring, multicultural celebration of female empowerment.

Originally Published