REVIEW: Kate Fuller and the Boys Club – I like Men

 

The band’s name is ironic, of course. Kate Fuller and the Boys Club is an all-female jazz trio and their debut album, I Like Men, plays into this ironic concept, featuring covers of some timeless classics – songs from the Great American Songbook mostly (although there is also a version of No Doubt’s ‘Don’t Speak’ featured), which share a common theme: they are all songs about men, sung from a female perspective. These are songs that have been recorded dozens of times by a wide array of artists, and have been immortalized in versions that are now part of the jazz canon.

What makes Kate Fuller and the Boys’ take on the material really outstanding is the orchestration.

 

While the voice and bass setting is now one of the staples in jazz, allowing adventurous artists to create unique studies in sonic space and intimacy (from the endeavours of Sheila Jordan and Cameron Browne to Petra Magoni and Feruccio Spinetti’s spectacular Musica Nuda duet to Australia’s own bonafide legends Kristin Berardi and Sam Anning, there is a long list of fine exemples of beautiful music created in this setting), the vocal-bass-drums trio is a rarity in jazz (or any other genre, for that matter), and this trio seems determined to explore the arrangement potentials this setting offers them.

To say that drummer Kyrie Anderson and bassist Alana Dawes create a firm backbone that allows singer and bandleader Kate Fuller to shine, singing with clarity and confidence, would be an understatement.

The drummer and bassist weave such an intricate, dense musical backdrop that the outcome is the sonic equivalent of a trampoline on which the singer jumps and plays, trying out moves and figures like a child overcome with pure joy. Joy is the main feeling that oozes out of this high-energy recording which offers a refreshing and inspired take on decades-old songs that reaffirms the eternal appeal of this material.

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