Cat Tales is at once an overdue welcome and a sad farewell. Cat Conner, a multidisciplinary performer whose talents include not just jazz singing but also performance art, body art and mediumship, has been a mainstay on the L.A. scene for more than three decades, yet she only recently made her recording debut. To shape Cat Tales, the caramel-voiced Conner called upon George Mesterhazy. His dual role as co-producer and pianist-abetted on several tracks by two of L.A.’s finest session players, reedman Gene Cipriano and bassist Jim Hughart-turned out to be one of his final studio gigs, completed not long before his premature demise, at age 59, in April.
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