Review by Cynthia Mullis

On Tuesday night I decided to defect from the happenings at the Seattle Drum School and instead head over to Katy Bourne’s gig at Tutta Bella on Stone Way in Wallingford. Katy Bourne is a fun and entertaining vocalist who performs with a top notch rhythm section—this time it was Doug Miller on bass and Randy Halberstadt at the piano (filling in for Bill Anschell, who is the regular on this gig). In addition to this monthly stand up north, Katy is a regular performer at the Columbia City Tutta Bella, as well as various other venues around town.

The last time I stopped by this gig was last fall right after the big windstorm and the place was packed with people suffering from cabin fever and lack of electricity. The timing finally worked out to go support Katy again on this monthly gig—I’d been intending to make it back over there since it is such a fun hang with great food and music. I was in the mood for some of the fabulous Neopolitan pizza that Tutta Bella is famous for and the music is an added reason to go out on a Tuesday evening.

To my ears, it sounds like Katy has been influenced by Greta Matassa, and if I’m not mistaken, she was a student of hers at one point. I heard this influence in her singing the first time I ever heard her and I really dug it. Beyond this though, Katy brings her own enthusiasm and warm personality to her phrasing and repertoire. She’s a firecracker: engaging, friendly and this all come through in her singing. She is a true and respectful student of the music and delights in new-found approaches to familiar tunes. Especially cool was a rendition of “Night and Day” with the A-sections in 6/4 and the bridge in a hard-swinging 4/4. I also enjoyed the version of “In Walked Bud/Blue Skies” since it made it clear how the Monk tune is related to the standard. The tune that stuck with me though, was “Cry Me A River” and she certainly did it justice.

Doug Miller, of course, holds down the fort with his earthy, swinging bass lines, and is thoroughly complemented by Randy Halberstadt (and vice-versa). I left with a newer appreciation of Randy’s invaluable service to the area’s vocalists, and an ever-deepening respect for Doug’s playing. Katy asked me to bring a horn and sit in on a couple of tunes so I got to experience the musical happenings up close—after I finished my gelato and espresso of course. Katy Bourne’s nights at Tutta Bella are a fun and a recommended stop for when things settle down after the October jazz blitz…and be sure to tell the management how much you appreciate restaurants who have live music (and that includes the ballads!)

Review, Seattle Jazz