I honestly never thought that I would ever hear a CD (in this case an EP-CD) with both "Autumn Leaves" and Leonard Cohen’s "I’m Your Man" as tracks, but Kate Stewart proved me wrong.
New singers and their initial efforts are always a challenge to review. It’s like watching a young pitcher (I apologize in advance for the sports analogy) making their major league debut. You can determine whether the pitcher has the equipment (arm) to be able to succeed in the big leagues, but it's hard to predict whether the pitcher will evolve into a real big league pitcher. But without the arm, it will not happen.
(I already apologized for the sports analogy - right?)
Well based on this EP-CD, I can definitely conclude that Kate Stewart has the equipment (in this case voice) to become an excellent jazz singer. But natural ability alone does not guarantee that someone will evolve into being a singer - in another genre Linda Ronstadt comes to mind.
I would bet though based on this effort that Kate will evolve into a fine jazz vocalist. She has been a lifetime devotee of jazz and began singing in clubs out East when she was 16, so her style is more polished than on most maiden efforts. She definitely shows more than glimmers of the singer she might well end up being.
I tried, I mean really tried, to use another word, but alas for want of that other word her voice can best be described as sultry - which one would not expect based on the picture of the perky, svelte blonde beaming at us on the back of the CD.
Mostly she knows how to sing. I especially liked her straight ahead interpretation of Johnny Mercer’s "Too Marvelous for Words." Her interpretation of the Leonard Cohen classic was also quite good. She has an excellent combo backing her, and the arrangements allowed their abilities to be demonstrated without taking away from Kate’s own efforts.
All in all Kate Stewart is definitely worth a listen - it will be interesting to see how her career and style evolves.