October 2005

Karin Plato
October 24, 2005The Montreal BistroToronto
Cookin’ with Karin and Kieran
by Stanley Fefferman
The other night at the Montreal Bistro we got hit by one of those rare coincidences that are what jazz is all about.

Karin Plato came in from Vancouver to do a few gigs with her new Toronto ensemble—Nancy Walker on piano, Joel Haynes on drums, and Steve Wallace on bass.

Steve couldn’t make it. By coincidence Nancy’s husband, Kieran Overs was able to stand in. Karin and Kieran rocked the joint like its back ain’t got no bone.

They started getting together on the Charlie Parker tune “Scrapple (from the Apple)” to which Karin wrote some words and turned it into a wittily phrased vocal about Adam and Eve—“The apple was the end of their fun”. But that was only the beginning of our fun. Kieran took off on some amazing bass solos. Karin hung back and listened. A few tunes later, Karin announced, of all things, “Takes Two to Tango” and did it as a duo with Kieran. They clicked and we were able to enjoy a novel hip interpretation of that tune that Louis Armstrong played with. The play here was a kind of role reversal of instruments. Kieran swung hard, but with the melody. Karin used her classically trained but definitely got swing voice to phrase intricate rhythms.

After that, Karin had Kieran lead off two major numbers: Rogers and Hart’s “You are Too Beautiful to be True”, and Sonny Rollins' “St. Thomas”. The former reminded me of what Sinatra said about the late Rosemary Clooney, whose voice Karin may have inherited: “She has the talent that exudes warmth and feeling in every song she sings.” (By coincidence, Karin had started off the set with Jaffe and Boland’s “The Gypsy in My Soul”, which Rosemary sang in that “distinctively unpretentious, deep, rich, and smooth voice of hers”, a description that also fits Karin Plato).

I’m waiting for the day that Karin makes a new CD with this ensemble: Nancy Walker, unobtrusively elegant—just so on piano, and Joel Haynes keeping the timepiece ticking. Till then, her 2003 CD The State of Bliss featuring three ensembles, including Campbell Ryga on sax, Brad Turner on Flugelhorn and Denzel Sinclair playing Nat King Cole to Karin’s Rosemary Clooney on “Let’s Take an Old-fashioned Walk” will more than bring you up-to-date on the work of this wonderful musician.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Stanley Fefferman
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