Jazz Improv Magazine - Volume 3, #4
Ken Hohman, Volume 3, #4
Minnesota native Connie Evingson is the kind of singer who
makes you go weak at the knees.A stunning Nordic blonde with
velvety voice, Evingson radiates a divine sensuality. Her
primary influence is Peggy Lee. Ms. Evingson has performed
several tribute concerts to Lee, and even portrays her
in a biographical stage production. But while Evingson's wink-and-a-smile
sexuality is pure Peggy Lee, her voice is no mere imitation.
On Some Cats Know, she shows that she is a most expressive
singer and a fine interpreter of melody.
Evingson's voice possesses an endearing nasal quality that
makes it easy to dismiss its strength and versatility. But
if you avoid
that mistake, you'll find her very convincing on this collection
of standards and personal favorites.
Evingson is as comfortable as a cat in a loveseat on songs
like the lilting "More Than YouKnow" and "I
Wanna Be Loved." She shows absolute control on the uptempo "I
Love Paris/It's Alright With Me" and she conveys the dreamy
romance of "Close Your Eyes" with pure elegance.
Evingson's most memorable song on Some Cats Know is the carefree
and swinging "Bluesette," a
Toots Thielemans/Norman Gimbel composition that, in fact, features
Thielemans putting in a cheerful cameo on harmonica. Evingson
turns in a wonderful performance, her mellifluous voice dancing
lightly above the song's waltz time. A close second to "Bluesette" is
the Dr. John-inspired version of "Accentuate The Positive," which
is propelled by the New Orleans roll of Joe Pulice on drums
and a syncopated street march of horns.
There are a surprising number of well-known veterans helping
out Evingson on Some Cats Know. This is kind of peculiar when
you consider that Evingson isn't the most famous singer out
there, and her own group performs quite well throughout these
(Sanford Moore and Reuben Ristrom are both excellent.) But
who's complaining? Ray Brown's walking rhythm is ultra-cool
Cats Know." Von Freeman adds smart contrast to Dave Karr's
tenor on "I Love Paris/It's Alright With Me." Brother
Jack McDuff slathers on the soul on "I'm Gonna Wash That
Man Right Outta My Hair," and Doc Severinsen blows a bluesy
mute on his cameos - it all sounds terrific.
Even with Evingson changing things up quite often, everything
seems to work on Some Cats Know. She even succeeds in revealing
her hep side on a vocalese rendition of "Anthropology" at
the album's close. But when it comes time to hitting the hot
buttons, Evingson is matchless. When she purrs "Some cats
know how to make the honey flow," you're either going
to make a run for the hot lotion or a cold shower.
Connie Evingson performs with the vocal jazz ensemble Moore By
Four, she hosts a jazz show on KBEM in the Twin Cities, and she
also shows up at various jazz festivals across the country. Get
a copy of Some Cats Know and you'll be waiting for her next appearance
with a dozen roses in hand.