By Kate Torgovnick
Jazz singer Kate McGarry has an unusual process for reinterpreting songs by greats like Sarah Vaughan, Anita O’Day, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone. In addition to going directly to the tunes, she immerses herself in interviews with her icons. “It was the experience of actually putting their speaking voice, their thoughts about their lives and some of their experiences, to the singing voices that I had known for so many years,” McGarry says this week in an “All Things Considered” interview. “You know a lot from just listening to their voice — you can feel their intention and some of the power and motivation that makes them sing.”
McGarry’s new album is called “Girl Talk,” which reminds me both of Robyn and the board game I used to play as a teenager. But the title actually comes from the 1965 Booby Troup song, which McGarry naturally reimagines on the album.