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Kathy Segal-Garcia sings social anthems

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    Posted: 13 Sep 2021 at 8:19pm
Available September 17, 2021 on Origin Records

CATHY SEGAL-GARCIA is one of the most prolific recording and performing jazz artists around. An impresario, teacher, and jazz champion, she is a friend and linchpin for many singers and musicians on the Los Angeles jazz scene. Her newest album, SOCIAL ANTHEMSVOLUME 1, is her 14th CD as a leader. She has been recording albums steadily for nearly 30 years, but the pace of her output has picked up over the last few years with the help of her friend, Dan Davilla, who co-produced SOCIAL ANTHEMS with Segal-Garcia.
As an artist, Segal-Garcia is always looking for new avenues of expression. She forms each of her projects around a different theme, instrumentation or musical style, and SOCIAL ANTHEMS is no different. This time, she moves the needle forward by looking back to the past by singing memorable songs of social import with sparkling new arrangements. These songs are originally outside of the jazz genre, but Segal-Garcia and her superb band reinterpret them with soulful, contemporary jazz arrangements.
Segal-Garcia always surrounds herself with top musicians. For this recording, she works with a few mainstays on the Southern California jazz scene. Guitarist ANTHONY WILSON wrote half of the arrangements for this product. Wilson is an inventive soloist and sensitive accompanist who has been a core member of Diana Krall’s quartet since 2001. With numerous, very well-received recordings as a leader, JOSH NELSON is a pianist, composer, and bandleader. He wrote the remaining arrangements for Segal-Garcia. Nelson has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan and John Clayton. Bass player EDWIN LIVINGSTON has a busy and varied career. Not only has he performed with the likes of Elvin Jones, David “Fathead” Newman, John Beasley, Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am, Mary J Blige, and many others, he has also appeared in several movies, including “Ray,” “Dreamgirls,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” and “Low Down.” Segal-Garcia also brought into the mix San Francisco-based drummer LORCA HART, who has not only performed with many of the West Coast’s (and beyond) finest artists, including Bobby Hutcherson, Carmen Lundy, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Jordan, he is also one of the top music educators in Northern California.
Always looking for the musicians who would best fit her projects, Segal-Garcia includes vocalist MON DAVID, known for his stirring, heartfelt vocals and imaginative, improvisatory vocal approach. He accompanies Segal-Garcia on the final track, “Save the Children.” New York vocalist PAUL JOST, an inventive and passionate storyteller who is widely known as one of the best male jazz vocalists since Mark Murphy, also takes a surprising turn on this recording on “And So It Goes”.
 The concept for this album grew out of the last few years of political turmoil and all the issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Segal-Garcia says, “I’ve been experiencing feelings of malaise and angst for quite some time now. And most of my friends have said the same thing. People are afraid for the future. I chose the songs on this album because I felt they are timely and speak to those feelings.”
SOCIAL ANTHEMS has just six songs, but there is enough passion and creativity on the album that it leaves you fully satisfied. Segal-Garcia opens the record with Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth,” one of the most well-known social protest anthems of the 1960s. Arranged by Wilson, Segal-Garcia says, “I love Anthony’s arranging. He always comes up with soulful grooves that really resonate with me.” “What Are We Going to Do” is a ballad written by Segal-Garcia and arranged by Nelson. Segal-Garcia says, “Life doesn’t come with a user manual, and I wrote this song on the way to a friend I felt some guilt about hurting.” Nelson’s sensitive arrangement beautifully captures Segal-Garcia’s theme.
“And So It Goes,” is by Billy Joel and arranged by Wilson. Segal-Garcia has great admiration for Paul Jost and wanted to include him on the album. She sent him the recording and was pleasantly surprised with his contribution. Rather than singing harmony with Segal-Garcia, he read the lyrics in a low, raspy voice. Segal-Garcia’s sensitive singing and Jost’s whispering recitation create an intimate, haunting effect. “Down to Earth,” by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, is from the animated film “Wall-e.” Arranged by Nelson, Segal-Garcia wanted to include it because of its environmental message.
Nelson arranged the mashup of “Get Together” and “Can’t Find My Way Home,” two iconic songs from the 1960s. “Get Together,” by Chet Powers, is a song about the power of love, while Steve Winwood, who wrote “Can’t Find My Way Home,” said the song was about a close friend who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. Segal-Garcia is joined by Mon David on “Save the Children,” from Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking 1971 album, What's Going On. A continuation of Gaye’s classic environmental hymn “What’s Going On,” and arranged by Wilson, Segal-Garcia and David harmonize on this impassioned plea to save the world for our children.
Segal-Garcia chose each of the songs on SOCIAL ANTHEMS because they resonated deeply with her. Her clear, cool voice and ability to convey lyrics with warmth and sensitivity, combined with her jazz chops, are always the main attraction of her albums. But when you add the innovative arrangements by Nelson and Wilson and the superb contributions of Jost, David, and the entire band, SOCIAL ANTHEMS is Segal-Garcia’s most compelling album yet.
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SOCIAL ANTHEMS, VOLUME 1 is set for release on September 17, 2021 and will be available at www.originarts.com and everywhere.
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