Cathy Segal-Garcia
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February 2010 - GIG REVIEW
Cathy Segal-Garcia Jazz Jam Juicer at Giovanni Ristorante

Cathy Segal-Garcia continues her Wednesday night jam sessions, renamed the Jazz Jam Juicer, at Giovanni Ristorante in Woodland Hills.  New name and a new location, but the same outstanding performances.  Segal-Garcia is so very talented and it is a pleasure to listen and watch her perform.  Up tempo Latin, standard swing, and soft ballads, she lends her unique styling and creativity to everything she touches.  The sign of a real pro is to make it look easy.  We all know it is not easy and I admire Segal-Garcia for her seemingly relaxed delivery. 

Not enough can be said about her exceptional trio.  Eddie Olivieri on piano with his amazing technique, Bill Markus on bass with his inimitable bow solos, and the always solid and very tasty drummer, Jack le Compte. They not only back Segal-Garcia, but they back the array of jam session performers with exceptional proficiency. On this night, two percussionists were added to the rhythm section, Van Gray on congas, and Bill Hill on timbales. They were very good players, but I give Le Compte extra credit for holding it all together with these added drummers;  not an easy task.

Segal-Garcia opened with a fast Latin jazz version of “I Got Rhythm.” She showed her skills right from the start. After the first chorus, she went into her creative mode of singing the song’s lyrics but using an improvised melody. This is one of Segal-Garcia’s strong suits. This was followed by a scat chorus which again, is Segal-Garcia’s forte.  She easily glides through changes as she transitions from the melody to her improvised choruses.  This was followed by a swinging version of “Cheek to Cheek” which featured Segal-Garcia scatting “eights” with Le Compte. Next the group performed “One Note Samba” with a 16th note rock feel instead of the usual bossa-nova. More improving by Segal-Garcia and a well developed solo by Olivieri. The arrangement on “Night and Day” was most interesting featuring a slow 12/8 rhythm. Markus, on bass, kept this groovin’ with his Wapango feel.  Gray on congas, hill on timbales, and le Compte played interesting percussion solos on this one also. 

One of the highlights for the audience was when chef/owner, Rich Grosso sat in, sporting his white chef’s jacket, singing two “big ending” classics – “That’s Life” and “I Left My heart in San Francisco.”  Patrons love to see an owner on stage and this night was no exception. Grosso loved performing and it showed. 

We heard a few of the jam session regulars like Ray Johnson playing piano and singing “Route 66.”  Another pianist, Andy Kaulkin, played a long version of “Over the Rainbow.” Ann Mack sang “There Will Never Be Another You” and Diva not only sang but was in full performance mode on “Cry Me A River.” Two outstanding guitarists, Jesse Bradley and Dori Amarillo as well as talented alto saxophonist Jeff Snow, got off some very nice solos. Peter Lewis, Dan Zeidman, and Mika Yamamoto were other performers who sang admirably in this jam session format.

The Italian food, the atmosphere, and especially the music were outstanding. Please visit Giovanni Ristorante and support Segal-Garcia with her impressive nine years leading this type of venue. Bring your instruments and/or your voice and sit-in with real professionals who know what they are doing.  For more information on Segal-Garcia’s upcoming performances, her vocal workshops, seminars, vocal consulting, and to purchase her CDs, go to her music page.

Ken Jennings

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