By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Introducing Katie Thiroux
Quite a lot of time has passed since a new swinging female vocalist has impressed me; even more time since that same vocalist turned out to be a swinging bassist. Oh, yes: She’s also a composer.
Meet Katie Thiroux, in her debut album.
She was only 4 years old when she began to play the violin, and then she switched to the bass at 8. Four years later, a Lionel Hampton album turned her on to jazz, at which point she became a student of vocalist Tierney Sutton. Shortly after that, Thiroux began a mentorship with bassist John Clayton, was chosen as a “Shelley Manne New Talent,” and received the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. She then taught at the latter’s International School, in Ecuador.
Thiroux returned to Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree in jazz bass at Cal State Long Beach. She formed her own quartet in 2013, with guitarist Graham Dechter, saxophonist Roger Neumann and drummer Matt Witek. That combo is featured on this album, which was produced by Jeff Hamilton, a master musician in his own right.
Eight of these 11 tunes are Great American Songbook standards, including “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “I’m Old-Fashioned” and “Wives and Lovers.” Thiroux composed “Ray’s Kicks,” “Rosebird” and “Can’t We Just Pretend?”
Finally, Frank Foster’s “Shiny Stockings” provides an excellent opportunity to compare Thiroux to Ella Fitzgerald; both versions swing quite nicely.
Thiroux is a very talented young woman, and we’ll be hearing a lot more from her.