Boston-bred, Cathy Segal Garcia loved jazz since the age of 5, when she would listen to Ella Fitzgerald, hanging around with her dad (sax player Mike Segal). Surrounded by a musical mother and sisters as well, and starting on flute at the age of 10, she was thrust into many different musical experiences on her way up. She and her older twin sisters started singing with her dad’s bands when she was 12. Those gigs and special choral groups and orchestras throughout her youth led her to Berklee College of Music for flute and Arranging & Composition, from 1972-1975. Loving the older style jazz from her family, she was now embracing her own choices...a mixture of cool jazz, modern jazz, and funk… …Miles Davis, Weather Report, Aretha Franklin, Modern Jazz Quartet, Chick Corea, Chaka Kahn, Bill Evans, Tower of Power, John Ambercrombie, etc., developing a love of rhythm, melody and harmony.
Cathy first moved to San Francisco, and then to Los Angeles in late 1975, where she settled and still resides. One of the things that impressed many colleagues, fans and critics over the years, is that she has consistently worked at her craft. Performing with literally hundreds of musicians, some of the more well known are: pianist Russell Ferrante (The Yellowjackets), drummer Tom Brechtlein (Robben Ford, Chick Corea), bassist Marc Johnson (pianist Bill Evans, John Scofield), bassist Gary Willis (Scott Henderson), ledgendary guitarist Ted Greene, guitarist Jeff Richman, guitarist Mike Miller (Chick Corea), drummer Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Stan Kenton, Steeley Dan), pianist Kei Akagi (Miles Davis), drummer Joey Barron (Bill Frisell, John Scoffield), studio pianist Mike Lang, Diana Krall, drummer John Robinson (Quincy Jones), pianist David Benoit, pianist Billy Childs, drummer Joey Heredia (Scott Henderson, Tania Maria), flautist Sam Most, Pianist Carl Schroeder (Sarah Vaughn), trumpeter Bill Berry, pianist Dave Mackay, guitarist John Pisano...the list goes on and on and on. Their style ranges from bebop to modern jazz.
Her singing and professionalism attracted much notice over the years resulting in international demand … for clinics, private teaching, her jazz compositions, live performances and studio recording. In the release of Michele Weir’s “Vocal Improvisation” book put out in 2001 by Advance Music, she is quoted along with 20 other illustrious vocalists, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bobby McFerrin, Jay Clayton, Jon Hendricks. In Los Angeles she’s created and continued monthly workshops since 1996, which include clinicians from L.A. as well as visiting artists from out of state or out of the country…such as Barbara Morrison, Carmen Lundy, Rebecca Paris, Jay Clayton, Julie Kelly, Madeline Eastman, Judy Neimack, Kate McGarry, Nancy King, Ruth Price, Michele Weir…etc.
Cathy presently teaches at CSULA. In L.A. she has been a teacher at Occidental College in at LAMA (Los Angeles Music Academy), California College of Music and M.I.(Musician’s Institute) and opened the Vocal Department at A.I.M. (American Institute of Music) in Vienna in the early ‘90’s.
Cathy created and ran a popular weekly jazz jam session in Los Angeles for 13 years, which she ended in May of 2013. This session added a tremendous enhancement to the jazz community, and was internationally known… regularly featured in The L.A. Jazz Scene newspaper, and featured in websites and music magazines, such as the Brass Bulletin, published in Switzerland in 5 languages.
In L.A.’s music magazine, Music Connection, she was voted #3 in “The top 10 hottest unsigned acts.” She’s listed in the “All Music Guide to Jazz”, and her singing performances have won multiple times on cable’s BET (Black Entertainment TV) performance contests. She’s delivered several vocal clinics at the famed IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) conventions. Winner of the 1997 JAZZIZ Magazine contest of Composer/Artist, to be a part of their 1998 Sampler, magazine article and winner of equipment. Endorsed by EV microphones (Electro-Voice), and performing for the Mark V booth at the NAMM show in Anaheim, CA and in the show in Frankfurt, Germany.
Ms. Segal-Garcia is the founder of jazz vocal group “Alone Together”; which is a 4 person group of high level jazz vocalists, along with top trio musicians...performing solo pieces, duo’s and quartet pieces, and scatting. Members have included recording artists and Grammy nominees ... Julie Kelly, Stephanie Haynes, Tierney Sutton, Kate McGarry, Cheryl Barnes, Michele Weir, Alison Wedding, and Jimmer Bolden. This group has now changed into “Octet In Jazz Language”, which has added spoken-word artist Michael C. Ford, and has featured jazz vocalists Stephanie Haynes, Julie Kelly, Cheryl Barnes, and Sherry Williams. Performing live in clubs and concerts and on television in the U.S.A. and South America; this group is highly entertaining to fans.
The co-founder of two organizations, JZVOC and CPJC, Cathy was the President of CPJC for many years; The California Pop and Jazz Council www.capopandjazzcouncil.com in Los Angeles…dedicated to the education of singers and musicians, and, by bringing credibility to pop and jazz, creating a demand in the marketplace.
April 2011 honored Cathy with an Artistic License Award from the prestigious California Lawyers for the Arts organization in Los Angeles. Honored along with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Melissa Feruzzi- Shriver, Chair, California Arts Council, Ms. Segal-Garcia was honored for her outstanding contributions to the arts in general and, in particular, for her leadership, initiative and efforts to educate the public about jazz and to keep the uniquely American musical art form vibrant, thriving and, in the words of one of her students, “on the map in the L.A. community.”
Always the world traveler, Cathy has traveled to the U.K., Europe, South America, Canada, Korea, and considers Japan her second home…having traveled there every year since 1985. Having been to the Chaco Province near Buenos Aires several times, she was to be the only United States jazz singer in their annual Jazz Festival, and to teach at a week-long clinic. The 2nd year, her vocal group “Alone Together” was invited, along with such International artists as Pedro Aznar, Hermeto Pasqual, Peteco, Eduardo Lagos and Chango Gomez.
To date, besides singing on CDs, films and commercials, Ms. Segal Garcia has 9 CDs out in the marketplace under her own leadership...the 1st CD is titled “POINT OF VIEW”; featuring a varied group of musicians including Russell Ferrante, Gary Willis, Tom Brechtlein, John Heard, Rick Helzer, Clay Jenkins, Wayne Johnson, Loren Pickford. This record is almost completely original music, with timeless arrangements by San Diego-based pianist and educator Rick Helzer. Gary Jackson, a writer for the last 30 years, wrote for the trade magazine ‘Black Radio’... “Cathy Segal-Garcia sounds like no other vocalist. Her unique and warm vocal style evokes a spirit and empathy in such a way that the listener longs to hear more.”
Her next CD is titled “SONG OF THE HEART”...a co-leader project with pianist Phillip Strange, sharing the stage with world-renown modern jazz musicians, drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Marc Johnson. Several originals by Ms. Segal-Garcia are arranged together with 4 standards, and the only recorded vocal version of Chick Corea’s composition “Bud Powell”. The quality of musicianship, arrangements and recording is critiqued as “Brilliantly exquisite!” and rated “Best Of The Genre” in the Internet’s “Music Blvd.” Peter Erskine had this to say in the liner notes: “I think that the resulting recording is the freshest vocal project which I’ve ever been involved in, and it’s one of my favorite recordings of the past year...the sound and the music are so honest!”.
(Also from “SONG OF THE HEART”, one of Cathy’s most popular ballad compositions, “Diane”, won several awards, including the 1998 JAZZIZ magazine contest, in which it held the auspicious position of the end cut of their CD Sampler. From the same CD several cuts were part of the rotation in the United Airline’s Cafe Cabaret airwaves throughout 1998 and in 1999.)
Her next 2 CDs were recorded in the summer of 1998, during the same week. In July ‘98, after a month-long tour of Japan, Cathy and pianist Phillip Strange recorded their second CD together, “ALONE TOGETHER”. This project was entirely standards, done in a modern, adventurous style. The following week Cathy recorded another CD, “HEART TO HEART”… with pianist Ross Tompkins, the pianist with the Doc Severinson band on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show”. This project was also entirely standards, but more of a classic jazz style. Both jazz duos with acoustic piano, this is an extremely revealing position for a singer to be in; and these 2 CDs show the varied sides of jazz Ms. Segal-Garcia is adept at.
Her 5th CD is “SECRET LIFE”, with a jazz trio as the base, the project is felt to be extremely marketable worldwide.
Mostly original music, Cathy categorizes this music as Alternative Jazz…“Finding spiritual encounters and meeting exotic landscapes through original folk tales, Segal-Garcia turns this latest album into an adventure for the spirit. … you’ve got the equivalent of a personal handshake. Segal-Garcia’s songs appeal to the individual. Through her music, she communicates with everyone and anyone in an easygoing manner. Hers is a performance that grows naturally toward all who are exposed.” Says Jim Santella for Cadence Magazine 2008.
Her 6th CD released is “DAY BY DAY”, a duo recording of standards, with the legendary jazz guitarist Joe Diorio.
A pure statement of wonderful jazz oriented standards…many people’s favorite CD of hers!
The 7th CD is a duo with Korean pianist Yoonseung Cho. Cho was a young pianist invited by Herbie Hancock to be in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute. Growing up in Argentina, living in Korea, Boston and Los Angeles, Cho has traveled much internationally and is well known for his playing, writing and producing. This project, entitled “BOHEMIAN”, is originals and well known jazz artists' compositions, and exhibits abilities that Cathy is best at… improvisational relationships with great instrumentalists.
“Songs that are stripped bare of the more commercialized pretentiousness of the music industry for tunes that have a unique story and artist to make sure the story is told. N.P.R jazz. The vibe of artistic integrity coupled with honest emotion for a captivating experience.” Says Critical Jazz Review.
The 8th CD was released in October 2013. “The Moment – Live at The Blue Whale – featuring Cathy Segal-Garcia” featured Gary Fukushima on electric piano, Chuck Manning on sax, Jeff Richman on guitar and Brad Dutz on percussion. This band is another NPR-like group, playing songs in an improvisational manner! Unusual in that there is no bass player, it’s a quirky gathering of high level modern jazz musicians!
The 9th project is Cathy and legendary guitarist Ted Greene, and includes audio performances and video performances. Many guitarists are fans (and students!) of Ted’s, and have been waiting for this project to emerge!
In the PROCESS: A project of Cathy and different pianists. Already recorded are 11 of the best pianists in Los Angeles. She has plans to continue with more pianists. In the mixing process now, she hopes this CD will be released by the end of 2016. The pianists: Otmaro Ruiz, Vardan Ovsepian, Josh Nelson, Gary Fukushima, John Beasley, Dave MacKay, Dave Moscoe, Jane Getz, Karen Hammack, Bevan Manson, Llew Mathews.
On the Shelf: One project, "straight ahead" jazz, was recorded in London with some of the leading jazz players London has to offer. Produced by the renowned alto player Andy Mackintosh for Cut N Paste Records, “LETTING GO”, at some point in the future will be released.
Re: “Song Of The Heart” ... “...The freshest vocal project which I’ve ever been involved in, and it’s one of my favorite tapes of the past year...This recording deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.” Peter Erskine
Re: “Song Of The Heart” ...“The choice of material is top notch -- very interesting. The duets were special, the interplay, dynamics, Cathy’s range and intonation are great!” Marc Johnson
“Garcia's "Secret LIfe" will not remain a secret for long.. This CD represents the talent and thoughtful efforts of a top notch musician..” Fernando Bernall ….. JazzRadio247.com
“If you closed your eyes you might think she was a highly evolved horn player...” Larry Koonse
“A model of warm, exquisitely focused jazz vocalizing...sensuous voice and cool harmonies.” Don Heckman..... L.A. Times
“When the Sirens, in the days of ancient Greece, enticed sailors with their song, at least one of them must have sounded like Cathy Segal-Garcia…the clear, cool, perfectly pitched Segal-Garcia voice.” David Nathan …… Hofacre’s JazzNews
“Songs that are stripped bare of the more commercialized pretentiousness of the music industry for tunes that have a unique story and artist to make sure the story is told. N.P.R jazz. The vibe of artistic integrity coupled with honest emotion for a captivating experience.” Critical Review….on “Bohemian”