Baltimore songstress Marianne Matheny-Katz releases a new album in May 2014. Somewhere in Paradise features engaging jazz standards with surprising new arrangements, performed with great style and nuance.
Writing in the liner notes, jazz critic John Murph calls Matheny-Katz “a captivating singer who…possesses a quintessential jazz voice, which she enlivens with lissome, conversational phrasing.” The vocalist has a penchant for dressing her tunes in new and noteworthy arrangements.
The disc celebrates Charm City’s fertile jazz scene by featuring some of its finest musicians, whose work Matheny-Katz has promoted and cultivated over the years. They include reed players Todd Marcus, Tim Green, Craig Alston; bassist Eric Wheeler; pianist Vince Evans; drummer Eric Kennedy; and triple-threat superstar Warren Wolf on vibraphone, piano and drums. Also featured is Philadelphia trumpeter Terell Stafford.
Murph, a contributor to JazzTimes, Down Beat and NPR Jazz, says, “Matheny-Katz conveys just the right amount of sanguine optimism, borne out of personal struggles and triumphs.” Born in Staten Island, Matheny-Katz spent her teens singing folk music in coffeehouses on Staten Island and Manhattan. Although she loved their music, the young singer was not yet ready to follow in the footsteps of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Bessie Smith. While their jazzier sound appealed to her, she remained focused on folk music for some time.