Katie Thiroux – Introducing Katie Thiroux (2015)

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It would not be inaccurate in calling Katie Thiroux an overachiever. As a California youth growing up in a musical family, she pursued jazz and opera. At the age of 8, she switched from violin to standup bass. In 2006, while a senior in high school, Thiroux was awarded the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Katie Thiroux took a position as professor of music at USFQ in Ecuador and has played extensively with pianists Larry Fuller, Bill Cunliffe, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Tamir Hendelman and Eric Reed; trumpeters Brian Lynch and Terrell Stafford; saxophonists Jeff Clayton, Charles McPhearson and Ken Peplowski; and guitarists Mundell Lowe and Larry Koonse, among others.

Her new release Introducing Katie Thiroux capitalizes on her mature and understated vocal prowess and her deep-rooted jazz grooves. Produced by Grammy award-winning drummer Jeff Hamilton, engineered by Grammy winner Steve Genewick and mastered at Capitol Records by Grammy Award winner Ron McMaster, the album is a treat from start to finish.

The lead-off track “There’s a Small Hotel” is subtle in its beauty and elegance. Katie Thiroux’s voice is mature and textured. The song moves along with an assured elegance, underscored by her upright bass and the drums of Matt Witek. Guitarist Graham Dechter provides a lovely interlude which is wistful and assured.

The trio picks up the pace with “Don’t Be on The Outside,” Roger Neumann’s tenor saxophone provides an added element of gumption.The interplay with Dechter’s guitar and the more aggressive slapping of Katie Thiroux’s bass keeps things moving in a spirited fashion. Thiroux scats on the tag in spirited fashion. “Wives and Lovers” is a first-class reading of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic, with producer Jeff Hamilton casting just Thiroux’s voice and bass. The impact is stunning and mesmerizing. The song “Ray’s Kicks” is another of the many highlights on Introducing Katie Thiroux.

The instrumental effectively intertwines the guitar of Graham Dechter with Thiroux’s bass. Her solo is tasty and assertive, and pushes drummer Jeff Hamilton to match her intensity. Clearly, Katie Thiroux could have made a first-class instrumental album but the listener would have been deprived of songs like the tender and touching “The One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else).” Conversely, the song demonstrates that Thiroux could have made a strong CD solely as a vocalist, as well. Yet as the swinging section of the song attest, we would have been deprived of her flowing walking bass.

Luckily Introducing Katie Thiroux doesn’t make the listener choose. This is truly the best of both worlds.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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