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Love Spook CD


Distributed by North Country; available on
CD Baby

Intimacy. Loss. Discovery...
an eclectic program of
Bull's uniquely personal originals & timeless jazz standards

"Jazz vocalist Katie Bull just never lets you down with her insightful CD projects...She & the groups she puts together seem supreme......feelings range from positive tension, relaxation, expectancy, & fulfillment... ...fine treatment and vocalise...intimate interaction of folks & forces... ...a pleasurable musical journey..."
George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman

Love Spook
I Only Have Eyes For You
Connection Rag
Leftover Blues

Distributed by North Country; available on





December 3, 2008

"Slim's Pick of the Week"
News From Cadence

KATIE BULL (vocals)
itemID/UPC: 825346798622

Joe Fonda (bass)
Frank Kimbrough (piano)
Michael Jefry Stevens (piano)
Matt Wilson (perc)
Martin Wind (bass)

Of the four available Katie Bull recordings, Love Spook is the one to have. She breathes new life into the half dozen standards ("My Favorite Things," "On a Clear Day," "I Only Have Eyes For You," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Watch What Happens," "Surrey With The Fringe On Top") as well as offers a half dozen fresh and memorable originals. Although more inside, she is adventurous in a Jay Clayton sort of way. Her phrasing is interesting, setting her apart from the kabazillion cabaret singers who find their way to jazz. For the faint of heart that want to stretch a bit...

CD Review – January 20, 2005
“Jazz vocalist Katie Bull just never lets you down with her insightful CD projects. She & the groups she puts together seem supreme in their ability to effect change in our feelings which range from positive tension, relaxation, expectancy, & fulfillment. These all well up & subside as we listen to the fine treatment & vocalise Katie & group offers our sensibilities with such eternal covers as ''On A Clear Day,'' & ""Watch What Happens, etc.'' This only happens when the intimate interaction of folks & forces are not in opposition to each other. This group in toto is capable of supplying those energies that translate these forces into a pleasurable musical journey for us, the listener.”
George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman Jan. 05

CD – REVIEW – February 11, 2005
“(Katie Bull) is a mainstream interpreter of the Great American Songbook and a downtown New York City cutting-edge vocalist exploring the more abstract styles of Jay Clayton or Sheila Jordan... (She) a tuneful and lyrical singer with the ability to convey the lyrics and melody of familiar songs quite well. She also enjoys the freedom jazz provides in reworking melody and time in an improvisational sense... Those seeking some adventure in their jazz vocal listening would do well to pay heed...”
Michael P. Gladstone, Feb.05

Katie Bull
Love Spook (Corn Hill Indie)
MANY MUSICIANS CAN claim a New York City pedigree, but few can say they grew up in the Village as Katie Bull can (at least until she moved upstate). Here on Bull’s second album you hear a singer wholly engaged in the process of sing cinct singing. She doesn’t recite the words along to a melody; she wraps her voice around them, breaking the sounds down, stretching syllables out, pushing words up
and down the scale. This is particularly apparent when she puts her stamp on such evergreens as “On A Clear Day” and “My Favorite Things,” but runs through her handful of originals as well. The supporting players – she uses two trios, including such players as pianist Frank Kimbrough, drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Joe Fonda – are laid back as the singer works, letting her shine but never leaving her hanging. This dynamic works particularly well on “Deer Run,” though other cuts worth checking out include the simmering “Leftover Blues” and a hard grooving version of “I Only Have Eyes You.”
– Tad Hendrickson

Review Courtesy - March 8, 2005
Review: Katie Bull has already released one CD, last year’s Conversations With The Jokers.However, her rules-breaking attitude toward much of the material on Love Spook creates the impression that this is a debut album.

Katie Bull isn’t one to repeat herself. Instead, she considers each song without preconceptions and with a sense of whimsy and wonder.

The same type of whimsy and wonder, childlike in innocence and refreshing in creativity, can be found on all of Matt Wilson’s CD’s as well. When you compound all of that fun-making by including Bull and Wilson on the same CD, anything can happen. Interestingly, Wilson is described on the cover of the CD as playing “percussion,” which, even though less restrictive than the title of “drummer,” doesn’t begin to cover the range of sounds that Wilson applies to the occasion.

On “Connection Rag,” which describes sonic and emotional disconnect through fractured meter and discordant piano chopping, we find Bull singing “Another day of no connection to you…/Whoops gotta run./Ships passing in the night…/I still love you, where did you go?” And we hear Wilson’s quacking duck calls and his ringing bicycle bells and his twirling New Year’s Eve noisemakers, and he pretty much lets the initially predictable rhythm lapse into unpredictability. A Bull original, “Connection Rag” is consistent with the sentiment that Bull intends to convey, despite the misleading irony of its title. But it doesn’t typify the songs of Love Spook any more than does the standard “I Only Have Eyes.”

On track after track, Bull adopts an attitude toward each song after considering its lyrics and their meaning, and she allows its spirit guide her interpretation. In fact, as the CD progresses, it becomes evident that Bull’s range is much wider than at first it seems. She broadens her vocal intervals wildly and surprisingly on “Deer Run” when it occurs to her to suggest swooping climbs and vertiginous descents even though she sings in a fairly narrow range until then. Cookie-cutter approaches are for less imaginative singers.

The idea for recording Love Spook originated in a New York City loft gig with Wilson, pianist Frank Kimbrough and bassist Martin Wind. The results were so successful, the empathy so gratifying, that Wilson suggested they record some of Bull’s music from that night. Now they have…and more. Bull has intermingled standards with songs stemming from her own wacky perspective. Even the standards don’t remain sacrosanct, though.

The closest Bull comes to a straightforward performance of standards is her beautiful exposition of “On A Clear Day,” which she sings without adornment or humor or improvisation, marveling instead in the song’s intervals and visual lyrics. Still, Bull not only sustains the notes, but she burnishes them with a purity of tone attaining variations of volume and timbre even as the pitch remains fixed. But then there’s “My Favorite Things,” the title of which Bull takes literally as she briefly catalogs some of her favorite things in a modally based introduction before she settles down into naming the favorite things that Rodgers and Hammerstein imagined for the von Trapp family. Beginning with full awareness of the jazz references that the song conjures, especially McCoy Tyner’s work with John Coltrane, Kimbrough asserts his own personality into his solo in the song’s midst, brighter and harmonically altered for fulfillment of the singer’s updated adaptation. Note how Bull leans forcefully into the notes, though, the respectful accompaniment highlighting her attack on words like “DAooooorbells” or her toying with the word “bad” as she at least eight ways to present it during the four-bar repeat. Bull switches back-up musicians for her version of another Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “Surrey With The Fringe On Top,” and she daringly slows the surrey down to a virtual crawl for fully rounded attention to each note, each syllable. Eventually, it becomes clear (oddly, for a song humorously describing sunny optimism and pride in industrial progress) that Bull considers the song as blues material when she wraps it up with slippery intermediate tones between the conventional pitches we expect to hear.

But Bull’s own compositions were the justification for producing Love Spook. They provide the most revealing glimpses into her sense of fun and her acuity of observation as she connects even the most mundane items with universal themes. “Leftover Blues” is indeed a modified blues that describes the leftovers in Bull’s refrigerator, either real or imagined. Nonetheless, as enlivened by the light swing of Bull’s trio, the song moves beyond the mundane into a statement about emotional abandonment and about getting up and starting all over again. Or on “Love Spook,” Bull climbs ascending minor ninth intervals with fearless openness, restraining none of her involvement in the music at hand, not until the song’s last notes wordlessly express leavened emotion.

Bull’s singing often is compared to Sheila Jordan’s or Jay Clayton’s—and she herself is flattered by the comparisons and by those singers’ praise. However, Bull is like them primarily due to the fact that she is unlike any other singer. With deep reserves of talent, a wide range, incessant surprises when she sings, a vibrant imagination, a natural feel for rhythm, lyrical perceptiveness, unconventional formation of notes and an ever-present sense of fun, Katie Bull immerses herself fully in the songs she sings. She represents a true discovery for anyone who hasn’t heard her yet.
Reviewed by: Don Williamson
Copyright© 2005®. All Rights Reserved.

“Katie Bull is one of the few of the new crop of jazz singers
who matter.”
Robert Ianapollo, AAJ-NY, from a feature on bass player Joe Fonda.

CD Review: Improvijazzation Nation - March 8, 2005
Media Alert: Katie Bull /”Love Spook”/Corn Hill Indie (Street Date March 1, 2005)
Following review will be in issue # 70, due up ‘round end-March to mid-April; please check me for typos or address corrections:

Katie Bull - LOVE SPOOK: We love female vocalists, but the jazz & bluesy approach on Ms. Bull's album was something we dug more than any other jazz vocalist we've listened to this year (& many other years, as well). That may be due (in great part) to the fantastic cast of characters she has around her (Joe Fonda on bass, Frank Kimbrough's piano, Michael Jefry Stevens' keyboards, Matt Wilson's percussion & Martin Wind's bass), but after the third listen, you'll begin to realize the high talent and, well, "spooky" qualities that Katie is able to milk out of a song. My favorite cut is one called "Strange", which opens with truly "different" percussion and a slow scat that seems (to me, anyway) to really define her vocal uniqueness and skill. The best word I can think of to describe her style here on this song is "captivating". The title track is a fine piece, too, slow & slinky, with a real "down-home" feel. It IS jazz, though, make no mistake... there is none of the slick musical spam that's so prevalent on many vocal albums... original through & through! If yer' lookin' to dip into th' blues side o' th' thang, be sure & check out "Leftover Blues", too. Don't expect "casual" jazz on this CD, you'll need to reserve an hour to sit down & really absorb"Love Spook". Total cool that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us! To find out more about this album, visit her site, at
Rotcod Zzaj

O's Place Jazz Newsletter
KATIE BULL - Love Spook 4/5
O's Notes: Katie is a true jazz singer, scatting and bending the notes hither and yon while maintaining tonality. Her phrasing is fresh and unique. Listen to her arrangement of “My Favorite Things” and you'll appreciate her personalization of the tune. She has chosen two trios for Love Spook and both are excellent. Drummer Matt Wilson and Bull are common elements. The other musicians are Frank Kimbrough (p), Martin Wind (b), Michael Jefry Stevens (p) and Joe Fonda (b). We found this to be an enjoyable listening experience.
D. Oscar Groomes
O's Place Jazz Newsletter
P.O. Box 2437
Naperville, IL 60567-2437


July 6, 2005
Media Alert: Katie Bull /”Love Spook”/Corn Hill Indie (Street Date March 1, 2005)
CD Review:
Review Courtesy
Katie Bull
Corn Hill Indie, USA - CD

Standards are called standards, I believe, not just because everybody does them, even Rod Stewart ( though to be deathly honest, if I got off on Jimmy Durante's take of "September Song," how can I put Rod the Mod down? I definitely belong to the wrong generation!), but because they tell us something we want to hear. Mind you, whether or not we want to hear it has nothing to do with whether or not it's true. See the pleasantly dunderheaded lyrics to Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane's "On a Clear Day You can See Forever." Don't think I need to say any more.

Katie Bull has a witty, throaty alto (an occasional reference to the divine Ella F. insinuates, but usually in the best taste) and evident talent in composition (see the title bit's "Your dress is so tight/I won't dissect you"; Lorenz Hart, call your office). Humor is another strong suit: see her fleet seconds-long improv during "I Only Have Eyes For You" in which she connects deliciously "avenue" and "you" as if they were the same word. Standards and originals alternate here, and although I like her "I'll Be Seeing You" I believe June Tabor (on her 1999 release A QUIET EYE) 'gets' the tune's kernel a bit more accurately (that of knowing full well - again - that chances are one won't be seeing that much-loved other, ever). Ms. Bull's leaving the door open is, however, a bit more to my taste at this particular time. I'd like to believe if I can! And she makes that work. The original "Leftover Blues" wisely mentions in passing to somebody who might be better off leaving, "Go ahead and eat my Chinese leftovers/ they're always better the next day"; clearly that person to whom she sings has made her feel a bit like leftovers as well. "Watch What Happens," the old Michel Legrand bossa, has exactly the right slip'n'slide, a precisely cascading piano attack (courtesy of the ever-amazing Michael Jefry Stevens; feel free to get any CD he's on with my personal recommendation). Oh, yeah, "On a Clear Day" resides here as well, but Bull and attendant trio Stevens, drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Joe Fonda (somebody get those 3 a Rockefeller grant so they can play together for a solid year!) give it the "After the Rain" treatment (you know, the Coltrane tone poem) and it just doesn't do it for me. Why? I suppose something is being underlined in this take that I don't agree with. The ethereality of such walled-into-the-1960s bric-a-brac as " it will astound you/ that the glow of your being outshines every star..." Oh, boy, where do I start? Again. Well, that isn't Ms. Bull and Company's fault. Another Katie composition, "Strange," to a broken minuet says the simplest thing in the most direct way: "I'm feeling very new/ Ah! It's you"). Classic. "My Favorite Things" is the best of the covers here, I think, in that it is a bouncy tempo, nary a care in the world, and Ms. B. shows off how she, like Eve Beglarian, can move her voice between a melody's notes in a very singular fashion. There is probably some fancy word for that method like 'apoggiattura' (don't write and tell me I misspelled that; I know); well, I get a kick out of it. No reference intended. Parenthetically, Ms. Bull's other pianist on this CD, Frank Kimbrough, is no piker either; a light touch, a good sense for the detail and no grace notes unless the composer forgot to put them in. Other bassist Martin Wind, mainstay of the NYU music department, plucks as funky a blues as you can ask for,especially on "Leftover."

Hard to know what to leave out of this review but I'll close with notes on 2 more of Ms. Bull's originals; "Deer Run"has a marvelous bridge ("I'm OK/ I can do this by myself" sung with a quietly intense bravura) and a whooping finish, while "Ashokan Road" ventures into Sting metaphysics (you know, "Fields of Gold," "Fragile," et al) but ends on a neutral note ("I have no answers... one bird flies/ and they all have flown"); simple and heartfelt.

So if your recent purchases of Norah Jones or Nellie McKay CDs have left you wondering what else's out there that you should still hear... start at this one. Nice work, Ms. B and company.

by Kenneth Egbert


July 2005
Montreal Mirror/CKUT Radio

Katie Bull Love Spook (Corn Hill Indie) Ms. Bull is back, this time backed by wonderful musicians like Frank Kimbrough, Martin Wind, Joe Fonda and Matt Wilson. A nice mix of standards and originals by a top notch vocalist. 9 (Len Dobbin - radio host, jazz historian & critic - Montreal)


JAZZ IMPROV MAGAZINE Volume 5 No. 4 Summer '05
by Withrop Bedford

"The lyrics Katie Bull wrote for the vamp introduction on 'My Favorite Things' add another dimension to this standard. For one thing, she creates new and imaginative pictures with these unexpected lyrics...Hearing her creative additions to an established standard provided me with some insight into the risks she takes with her own compositions - lyrics and melodies....Bull's vocal expession is compelling...Bull's vocalizations sound effortless. She lithely glides and soars through a wordless chorus, eventually sliding into the simple lyric she created....(on) "On A Clear Day" Bull uses this opportunity to show how magnificently she can sustain and work with single notes, long tones, exquisitely embracing them, shading and coloring them, and expressing them with confidence and aplomb, as her own. ...and then we get a chance to enjoy her scat singing - essentially doing what jazz is all about: improvising. She convincingly creates lively, swinging lines - with ease. ..I liked the off-center nature of Bull's original lyriucand melodies. I loved her interpretation of ballands and standards. But, what I enjoyed the most throughout Love Spook was the sensitive interaction, the improvised musical dialogue between Bull and her bandmates - Kimbrough, Wind, Wilson, and vice versa."


"Bull chooses musicians who are as FREE-SPIRITED as she is..." (CADENCE MAGAZINE)

JOE FONDA is a composer, bassist, recording artist, interdisciplinary performer, and producer. An accomplished international Jazz artist, Fonda has performed with his own ensembles throughout the United States and Europe, and as a side man with Archie Shepp, Ken McIntyre, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron, Leo Smith, Perry Robinson, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, Mark Whitecage, Marion Brown, and Bill Dixon. Fonda was the bassist with the renowned Anthony Braxton sextet, octet, and tentet, from 1984 through 1999. Other organizations or musicians Joe has been involved with include the Tri-Centric Foundation; The Tri-Centric Orchestra under the direction of AnthonyBraxton; The Creative Musicians Improvisors Forum directed by Leo Smith; The American Tap Dance Orchestra in New York City, directed by world renowned tap dancer Brenda Bufalino; Fred Ho’s Jazz and Peking Opera; Sonomama Dance Company; Kaleidoscope Arts; and numerous CDs and tours with The Fonda-Stevens Group; From the Source (Bufalino and healing artist Vicki Dodd); & Conference Call (a quartet, featuring drummers, Han Benik and Matt Wilson, with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens). Conference Call has released two CDs, one on Soul Note, Final Answer and one on Leo Records Variations on a Master Plan. The FAB Trio, (featuring Joe Fonda, Barry Altschul, and Billy Bang), has just released its first CD, Transforming the Space, on CIMP Records. Joe is the bassist on Katie Bull’s premiere CD, Conversations with the Jokers, and is the “Joe” on the soon to be released album, The Bull-Fonda Duo: Cup of Joe, No Bull on Corn Hill Indie.

FRANK KIMBROUGH has been active on the New York scene for more than twenty years and has been a composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective since its inception in 1992. He has made 12 recordings as a leader for the Palmetto, OmniTone, Soul Note, and Mapleshade labels. As a sideman, his work includes recordings and tours with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Ben Allison’s Medicine Wheel, Ted Nash and Still Evolved, Michael Blake’s Elevated Quartet, and groups led by Ron Horton, Rich Perry, Joe Locke and Kendra Shank among others.

MICHAEL JEFRY STEVENS is a pianist and composer who performs extensively in Europe and North America. He was the “Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow for 2000–2001” at the MacDowell Artist Colony and recently received 2nd prize in the prestigious Monaco International Jazz Composition Contest. Michael currently co-leads several working musical ensembles including The Fonda/Stevens Group, the Conference Call Quartet, the Stevens/Siegel/Ferguson Trio, and the Memphis Jazz Composer’s Workshop Big Band. He has released over 40 CDs which feature his original music including most recently Spirals: The Berlin Concert on 482 Music and Play on Drimala Records. Artists he has performed and/or recorded with include Dave Douglas, Mark Feldman, Han Bennink, CharlesMoffett, Cecil Bridgewater, Valery Ponomarev, Gerry Hemingway, Miles Griffith, Leo Smith, Thomas Chapin, Gebhard Ullmann, Herb Robertson, Matt Wilson, Dominic Duval and Dave Liebman. Michael is the pianist on Katie Bull’s premiere CD, Conversations with the Jokers on Corn Hill Indie

MATT WILSON loves to play music. Matt is very fortunate to play music with great musicians all over the world. Matt loves to play on recordings and make his own recordings for Palmetto records. Matt loves to play in bands and loves leading his own bands. Matt loves being a father and husband. Matt was thrilled to be a part of Katie Bull’s compact disc adventure with folks he adores. Matt loves to laugh. Matt loves to cook and drink wine. Matt loves New York. Matt has a fun-filled website he thinks you will enjoy, Matt hopes you all have a nice day.
Matt Wilson appears courtesy of Palmetto Records. Matt Wilson plays Zildjian cymbals and sticks, Pearl drums and Remo drumheads.

MARTIN WIND is a bassist and composer who works as both a jazz and classical musician. He is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Jazz Department at New York University and has served as a bass instructor/rhythm section trainer for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Germany. Martin has worked with the following artists/orchestras: Radiobigbands Cologne, Frankfurt & Berlin; Mstislav Rostropowitsch and Valerie Gergejiev with the German Soviet Young Philharmonie; Gidon Kremer; Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Pat Metheny, Curtis Fuller, Jiggs Whigham, Ken Peplowsky, Jeff Hamilton, John Taylor, Bucky Pizzarelli, Lalo Schifrin, Monty Alexander, Toots Thielemans, Mark Murphy, Marvin Stamm, Phil Woods, Carol Sloane, Eddie Daniels, Johnny Griffin, Claudio Roditi, Bill Charlap, Vic Juris, Grady Tate, Mike Stern, Jim McNeely and the Village Vanguard Orchestra among others. Martin is currently working in the trios of pianists Bill Mays, Dena DeRose, and Don Friedman and is a bandleader in his own right. In 1995, Martin won Third Prize at the International Thelonious Monk Bass Competition in Washington, D.C., and in 2001, he was awarded the Cultural Prize of his home state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, as the first Jazz musician to receive this award.


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