The Katie Bull Group Project
("Love Spook" '05-'06; new project with the Group = KATIE BULL GROUP PROJECT '07 (Michael Jefry Stevens; Frank Kimbrough; Harvey Sorgen; Matt Wilson; Joe Fonda; David CasT; Jeff Lederer)

For Tours contact

Artist Information

KATIE BULL is a jazz vocalist and multi-media writer/performer living in New York City since birth. LOVE SPOOK is Bull’s second CD to date. Her premiere CD Conversations with the Jokers (with Michael Jefry Stevens, Lou Grassi, Joe Fonda) was released in March 2003 and received excellent critical notices. Conversations was on 12 Top Ten CMJ Radio charts culminating in an invitation to sing at Jazzweek’s kick-off to the Rochester International Jazz Festival, at the Montage.

She has appeared with numerous musicians including pianists Michael Jefry Stevens, Frank Kimbrough, and Joshua Wolf; percussionists Lou Grassi, Matt Wilson, Harvey Sorgen, George Schuller, and Jon Wikan; and bass players Joe Fonda, Martin Wind, and Cameron Brown.

She has sung with her divine mentors—jazz vocalist/composer Jay Clayton, and Jay Clayton’s Voices & and jazz singer Sheila Jordan. Most recently Katie performed with Judi Silvano in her accapella jazz-movement ensemble “Voices Together. Other musicians Katie has worked with include pianist and composer Kirk Nurock in his Natural Sound; and composer Julius Eastman.

Her next CD, The Bull-Fonda Duo: Cup of Joe, No Bull was released in March '05 to stunning critical response and features Joe Fonda on bass; recorded and engineered by David Baker. Her albums are independently produced on the Corn Hill Indie label, distributed by North Country Distributors, and can be purchased on, and in selected stores.


Katie was born in New York City, and raised in the West Village on McDougal Street, and Westbeth. Her jazz piano playing-dancer father used to let her tag along to gigs and various jam sessions, as well as run around on the edges of the dance floors where he was teaching modern dance at NYU. He also snuck her in to hear extraordinary singers and musicians in various village venues including the Village Vanguard and Folk City, long before she was of legal age! She remembers Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Bill Evans, and Elvin Jones, to name just a few.

Soon, she and her dad moved to Brockport, a small town in upstate New York (way upstate, near Canada). It was there, at the jam sessions in the "parlor" of their home on Adams street that she met numerous extraordinary visiting jazz musicians and composers including percussionist Lou Grassi, to whom she is indebted for his encouragement and support of her career (Lou can be heard on Katie's premiere CD Conversations With the Jokers). As a suburb of Rochester, Brockport was within easy proximity of the Eastman School, where Katie often went to hear great jazz concerts of amazing jazz musicians; a formative moment was watching Keith Jarret improvise on that huge stage in that huge auditorium, and realizing how intimate he was being with the piano and the audience.

She then returned to Tribeca, NYC - Manhattan, (before it was "Tribeca") and lived in a raw loft space with her father and stepmother. She got a regular gig at Walkers at the age of 15, singing standards once a week. At this time she was introduced to jazz singer/composer Jay Clayton, and singer Sheila Jordan, both of whom took her under their nurturing wings. She sat in a bit around town, at such venues as The Tin Palace, Sweet Basils, and Phoebes. The most memorable sitting-in moment was the night Joe Williams sat in at Sheila's gig, and then Sheila let Katie sit in too; Katie sang My Funny Valentine, and Harvie Swartz , on bass, pulled out his bow at the end of the tune -- his sensitivity sent electricity up Katie's spine. It was a moment Katie now recognizes as a defining moment in her life; this is jazz, this is a conversation!

Soon she embarked on her own, attending SUNY Purchase, entering as a music major, exiting from the theater conservatory. It was at SUNY Purchase that Katie met mentor Chuck Jones who's revolutionary work in vocal production for the speaking voice changed her life.

Since graduation Katie has been living in Manhattan. Her focus has been in the hybrid-arts movement, also known as the inter-arts movement. She has written and directed numerous experimental productions with her company the Bull Family Orchestra, and this work has allowed her to integrate her background in music, dance, writing, and directing. She has been vocal coaching the speaking voice, and singing in various downtown experimental theaters. She joins the jazz world now, a newcomer - - coming home.

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, tentet, from 1984 through 1999. Fonda also sat on the Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999, and was the President from 1997 to 1999 of the newly formed Tri-Centric Foundation. He has also performed with the 38-piece Tri-Centric orchestra under the direction of Anthony Braxton, and was the bassist for the premiere performance of Anthony Braxton’s opera, Shalla Fears for the Poor, performed at the John Jay theater in New York, New York, October 1996. As a composer, Fonda has been the recipient of numerous grants and commissions and has released eight recordings under his own name. Fonda was also a member of The Creative Musicians Improvisors Forum directed by Leo Smith, and was the bassist with the American Tap Dance Orchestra in New York City, directed by world renowned tap dancer, Brenda Bufalino. In 1989, Fonda performed with Fred Ho’s Jazz and Peking Opera in its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1982 to 1986 Fonda was the bassist and dancer with the Sonomama Dance Company. An independent producer since 1978, Fonda is the founding director of Kaleidoscope Arts and interdisciplinary performance ensemble. Currently Fonda has been recording and touring extensively with the Fonda-Stevens Group. They have released five CDs and have had seven European tours since 1997, with performances at the Bim huis in Amsterdam, Holland, the Prague Jazz Festival, Czech Republic, the Jazz Halo Festival, Belgium, and Jazz Festival Thurinsen, Weimer, Germany. Three of Fonda’s most recent projects are From the Source, Conference Call and the FAB Trio. From the Source is a group that incorporates the tap dancing and poetry of Brenda Bufalino and the healing arts of Vicki Dodd, and four jazz musicians. The group has released their first CD entitled, Joe Fonda and From the Source, on Konnex Records. Conference Call is a quartet, featuring drummers, Han Benik and Matt Wilson, with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, and bassist Joe Fonda. 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. “The FAB Trio serenades us with their maturity, their honesty and longevity found in their many years of individual performances,” describes Kunle Mwanga, “they continue to be fresh and in the avant-garde of the music scene.”

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.

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.

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.


Katie Bull - Love Spook

Free spirited jazz vocalist Katie Bull expands the view of her distinctive talent on Love Spook, her second album for Corn Hill Indie. On her debut release, Conversations With The Jokers, Bull, who shows the tonal and rhythmic influences of musical matriarchs Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan, exhibited a convincing ability to bring a fresh approach to her interpretations of classic material from the Great American Songbook, leading AllAboutJazz to predict that the young singer, would "be a force to be reckoned with in vocal jazz.” On Love Spook Bull, who shows an enormous amount of respect for both innovation and the tradition, demonstrates just how strong that force is on a program of a dozen songs about intimacy, loss, and discovery. The program is divided equally between uniquely personal originals and timeless standards she grew up loving and describes as “chambers of my own heart”.

The dichotomy of Bull’s style is evident in her choice to use two different rhythm sections, united by drummer Matt Wilson, whose desire to record some of the singer’s songs served as the impetus for the project. The trio with the piano/bass team of Frank Kimbrough and Martin Wind flows seamlessly in the proverbial pocket, while the other with her regular bandmates Michael Jefry Stevens and Joe Fonda always seem to take it slightly out - pushing at the edges of the same pocket. Bull’s voice blends beautifully with both as she bares her soul, singing with a sound that is simultaneously sensual and spiritual.

Love Spook opens with Wind’s ominous sounding bass line and Wilson’s rattling rim shots evincing the title track’s conveyance of the feelings of impending danger that can often accompany romantic connections. Bull’s powerful voice is full of a drama befitting her background in experimental theatre as she recites her enlightening lyric about a love lost and found, revealing her remarkable range as she plumbs the depths of her emotions with a fullbodied vibrato and then soars to her highest note as she sings the word sky.

Bull offers listeners some pleasant insights into her personality with the words to her vamp intro for My Favorite Things, singing about a “cherry tomato (that) explodes in my mouth” and “whole flocks of whales as they sing their way south” over Wilson’s staccato frame drum tapping before smoothly segueing into Oscar Hammerstein’s well known lyric. Kimbrough solos beautifully on Richard Rodgers familiar melody, displaying his own fully developed style before referencing McCoy Tyner’s stylings on the classic version with John Coltrane. Bull who has her own rhythmic way with words, also shows a strong affection for Betty Carter’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the song.

Strange, a second Bull original, demonstrates the singer’s philosophy that there can be a special beauty in the simplicity of some songs. The piece begins with her dueting with Wilson’s malleted tom toms, intoning a wordless reading of the melody before going into the lyric, which paints a flowing impressionistic picture of an experience using very few words

Bull slowly sings long legato lines on Lerner and Lane’s On A Clear Day, stretching out like the horizon depicted in the song’s lyrics. Pianist Michael Jefry Stevens the singer’s regular pianist, provides sensitive minimalist accompaniment, allowing her voice to shine in the sympathetic setting.

Deer Run’s words come from a skiing “lesson” Bull’s young daredevil daughter and son gave their mother when they were all just learning last year. Bull sees the sport as a metaphor for love. She says, “It’s fun and daring … Are you going to pull back? Are you going to let go? Are you willing to take the risk? Are you daring enough to risk falling?” Her fearless improvising here displays an almost acrobatic athleticism, screaming the words “it’s like flying” while Stevens, Wilson and Fonda (in particular, bowing below the bass’s bridge) offer some daring sounds of their own.

Leftover Blues is Bull’s sexy sounding silly inventory of an almost barren refrigerator. On this one the soulful singer shows when you look at the world with the right attitude, just about anything is worth singing about. Kimbrough, Wind and Wilson all get to dig in on this one, offering up some of the date’s best straight ahead playing.

Bull maintains her playful tongue in cheek attitude on I Only Have Eyes For You, affecting a coquettish tone on a bossa nova arrangement that features some outlandish scatting to Wilson’s dancing latin rhythms. Kimbrough shines as he shows himself to be equally skilled at comping and soloing and Wind supplies some superbly supportive bass work on this one.

There’s a touch of sadness in the beautiful warm sound of Bull’s voice on her respectful reading of the ballad I’ll Be Seeing You. The song’s melancholy mood, evident from the first notes of Kimbrough’s introductory chorus, is maintained throughout the performance, right up to the piano’s closing notes.

The date’s bright outlook returns on Michel Legrand’s Watch What Happens with Bull singing Normal Gimbel’s optimistic words with a happy spirit, at times reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald in her scatting. Stevens and Fonda show that despite their earned reputations as leading members of the avant garde, that they are both capable of surefooted swinging.

Connection Rag is an absurdist piece with a Brechtian tone. The singer confesses to imagining herself dutifully reciting her words by rote while in the center of the circus like atmosphere that is conveyed by Wilson’s arsenal of percussive toys. Stevens and Fonda’s experimentalist background serve them well on this intentionally dissonant interpretation of the classic form.

Bull takes Surrey With The Fringe On The Top at a very slow tempo that brings out the romance in the words that is often lost as most singers race through the chord changes. The sound of Sarah Vaughn is present in her voice here, inspiring the trio to turn in a particularly moving performance, with Stevens remarkably like Bill Evans.

The concluding Ashokan Road was written by Bull with the words “something dies, something else is born” which she employed to explain to her daughter that she wasn’t killing some lavender when cutting back the plant. After the tragedy of 9/11 the lyric took on a new meaning that can be felt in this version. The song begins somberly with Fonda’s arco bass, but moves on to an optimistic tone with Stevens’ latin vamp before resolving in a pensive mood.

Katie Bull is a singer who is capable of creating the kind of music that has real meaning in today’s world. She has the courage to tackle the contradictions inherent in love and life and the talent that gives her the ability to sing old songs in new ways. Love Spook offers music that is full of fun and relevance. Its an important step on Katie Bull’s road to successfully sharing her considerable gift with a world she sees illuminated by the light of her own very creative insights.

Corn Hill Indie is distributed by North Country Cadence Bldg. Redwood, NY 13679
T: 315-287-2852 / F: 315-287-2860

* * * * *

Media Contact: Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail:
Jazz Promo East: Lorraine Tucci Sound
Jazz Promo West: Savannah Pershina SavannahPR@gmail.comc

Katie Bull /”Love Spook”/Corn Hill Indie
(Street Date March 1, 2005)
Press Contact – Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

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

March 8, 2005
Review Courtesy

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.

March 8, 2005

Media Alert: Katie Bull /”Love Spook”/Corn Hill Indie (Street Date March 1, 2005)

CD Review: Improvijazzation Nation

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 - 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

May 12, 2005

Media Alert: Katie Bull /”Love Spook”/Corn Hill Indie (Street Date March 1, 2005)
CD Review:
Review Courtesy
Love Spook
Katie Bull | Corn Hill Indie
By Donald Elfman

There seem to be more singers today than ever before, but along with that development come a few who are turning around the notion of just what a singer does and can do. Katie Bull is called a multimedia artist, and that notion informs her every note here. She knows the repertoire and she knows the vocabulary but she also has the sense of drama and choreography that speak to the expansion of the whole field of singing.

The album opens with the title cut, and as that implies, it’s a dark, unsettling piece that offers a different picture of what love can mean. Joe Fonda’s bass provides the insistent underpinning for this disturbing yet rich portrait, but the painting also makes full use of the brilliant storytelling drums of Matt Wilson and the evocative piano of Frank Kimbrough, who knows about space and timing.

Equally revealing is what Bull does with a tune we know. Her vamp intro to theSound of Music ditty “My Favorite Things” includes some things that it seems Misters Rodgers and Hammerstein might never have considered as favorite. Or maybe they would have but could not have expressed them with the passion and conviction that Katie Bull does. Coltrane had changed this tune for all time--we thought--but Bull has changed it again.

Bull titles another original “Strange” and indeed it is--with its mysterious wordless intro and then simple repeated lyrics--but this is strange in the best meaning of the word, with a sense of wonder and new differences to be celebrated. And that’s what Bull and her bandmates do in all of these performances--celebrate new beginnings so that even old material never seems overly familiar.

Personnel: Katie Bull - vocals; Joe Fonda, Martin Wind - bass; Frank Kimbrough, Michael Jefry Stevens - piano; Matt Wilson - drums.

All material copyright © 1996-2005 All About Jazz and contributing writers. All rights reserved. June 17, 2005
Featured Artist: Katie Bull
CD Title: Love Spook
Musicians: Katie Bull (vocals); Michael Jefry Stevens (piano); Matt Wilson (percussion); Joe Fonda (bass); Frank Kimbrough (piano); Martin Wind (bass).

Review: Vocalist Katie Bull released Love Spook in March of this year and has another coming out at the end of July. While my JazzReview colleague, Don Williamson has already covered this recording for our site, I just can’t resist echoing his praise and adding a little of my own.

Katie Bull employs two distinct trios on this CD. The common denominator is percussionistMatt Wilson and, of course, the singer herself. While one group utilizes the avant-garde pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, the other features the more mainstream Frank Kimbrough. Two remarkable bassists are featured. Joe Fonda is paired with Stevens andMartin Wind with Kimbrough. These two combinations and the unique Katie Bull vocals make Love Spook a CD that can’t be ignored.

We are treated to two sides of Bull’s abundant talents. She delivers several of her own compositions. The title song reminded me of the late European singer Nico who, in her period of popularity, delved into her own personal spooks. Another original, Deer Runfeatures the singer in a similar vein and giving Stevens and percussionist Matt Wilson a real workout. Of Bull’s compositions, I particularly enjoyed the highly introspectiveAshokan Road and the hip Leftover Blues.

The singer is even more remarkable when she handles a pop standard. This singer will want to re-invent the Great American Songbook. Most jazz versions of the 1943 Oklahoma hit Surrey With The Fringe On Top are delivered as barn-burners at a frantic tempo. With Katie Bull, that ain’t necessarily so! She treats the old standard as something close to a ballad. She does delightfully different things with Harry Warren’s 1934 gem I Only Have Eyes For You. It’s as though she had never heard any of the hundreds of recorded versions from past decades. This is the freshest rendition I’ve ever heard. Just perfect!

Katie Bull is a confident, adventurous and fearless interpreter of song. Two thousand years ago, Virgil was quoted Do not commit your poems to pages alone. Sing them, I pray you. That still applies!

Tracks: Love Spook; My Favorite Things, Strange; On A Clear Day; Deer Run; Leftover Blues; I Only Have Eyes For You; I’ll Be Seeing You; Watch What Happens; Connection Rag; Surrey With The Fringe On Top; Ashokan Road.

Artist's Website:
Reviewed by: Richard Bourcier

Copyright© 2005®. All Rights Reserved.

Trio photo (left to right) Joe Fonda, Matt Wilson, Katie Bull, Michael Jefry Stevens

Trio photo (left to right) Martin Wind, Matt Wilson, Katie Bull, and Frank Kimbrough

Katie Bull