Cathrine Legardh, vocal, Brian Kellock – Love Still Wears a Smile –
(Storyville Records 1014282. CD Review by Jeanie Barton)
Cathrine Legardh’s vocal/piano duo album opens with the melancholy First Song by Haden/Lincoln; its soaring introduction has an almost ecclesiastical nature which pitches Cathrine’s androgynous soprano against Scottish pianist Brian Kellock’s spacious keys, setting a very classical tone.
Things are jazzed more with Hammerstein and Kern’s Nobody Else but Me and Close Your Eyes by Bernice Petkere, where she pulls around the phrases and swings with and sometimes against Brian’s fatter piano lines. Born in Denmark to Danish/Norwegian/Swedish parents, Cathrine’s accent is quite strong when singing in English; she clips the close of her words with a short purr and never truly opens out – her lips I imagine to be pursed. This style can be advantageous, particularly lending itself to the bebop scat lines she weaves through This is New by Weill/Gershwin.
I particularly enjoyed Two for the Road by Mancini/Bricusse; Cathrine has a continental air that I feel marries perfectly with this delicate harmonic progression. Together Brian and Cathrine explore many possibilities within their duo, both rhythmically and structurally; the more outlandish and contemporary numbers being Peace by Horace Silver encompassing lingering space, dynamic tensions, spoken word and the entirety of the keyboard. Also the percussive, aggressively syncopated No Moon at All by Mann/Evans.
Although I admire risqué arrangements, I personally derived most pleasure from the simpler pieces within this album. The calm resumes in the final number, The Party’s Over by Styne/Comden and Green, and I consider retiring to bed, when a secret track, starting with a poem halts me – a final solo of delicate cocktail piano by Scot, Brian, is the perfect night cap.