L.A. Jazz Scene
Cathy Segal-Garcia & Ross Tompkins
Heart to Heart
It takes a rare and dedicated artist to work in duo, since there’s nowhere to hide. It’s just you and your musical partner, baring your souls to the world out of a deep love for the music and an intense desire to share it with someone. Vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia and pianist Ross Tompkins have shared with local audiences for decades in intimate settings where they’ve gotten to know us as thoroughly as we’ve come to appreciate their love for good music. Heartfelt songs such as “Skylark,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “My Old Flame” and “More Than You Know” bring a tear to your eye as the duo interprets from a personal viewpoint.
Segal-Garcia approaches each selection slowly with emotions bared. You can’t rush some things. In order to express these songs appropriately, she uses every ounce of her life’s blood. Tompkins, on the other hand, likes to reach out on occasion and liven things up with a smile. His contrasting solos give the album a considerable balance. As they perform together, the duo forms a spiritual alliance that results in torches being burned down to the bottom, until there’s nothing left to say.
Jackie Gleason’s “Melancholy Serenade” summarizes the performance, since the program paints each selection as a melancholy ballad with obvious emotion. Unlike the characteristic way that Gleason used his television theme song to showcase ironic with and extravagant comedy, Segal-Garcia and Tompkins interpret it slowly with waves that dampen the song’s luster.
“Exactly Like You,” unlike the rest of her program, represents the center of Segal-Garcia’s musical arena. On this interpretation, she uses her familiar musical approach to swing a little, move casually through a wide vocal range, and shape each phrase colorfully with precision. Accents introduce a familiar jazz force to her performance that highlights an otherwise slow and spiritual message. The duo’s gift to their audience is filled with love, and presented slowly with deep feelings that are worn on their shirtsleeves.