Some Cats Know
Jazz Improv Magazine - Volume 3, #4

Ken Hohman, Volume 3, #4

Minnesota native Connie Evingson is the kind of singer who makes you go weak at the knees.A stunning Nordic blonde with a velvety voice, Evingson radiates a divine sensuality. Her primary influence is Peggy Lee. Ms. Evingson has performed several tribute concerts to Lee, and even portrays her in a biographical stage production. But while Evingson's wink-and-a-smile sexuality is pure Peggy Lee, her voice is no mere imitation. On Some Cats Know, she shows that she is a most expressive singer and a fine interpreter of melody.

Evingson's voice possesses an endearing nasal quality that makes it easy to dismiss its strength and versatility. But if you avoid that mistake, you'll find her very convincing on this collection of standards and personal favorites.

Evingson is as comfortable as a cat in a loveseat on songs like the lilting "More Than YouKnow" and "I Wanna Be Loved." She shows absolute control on the uptempo "I Love Paris/It's Alright With Me" and she conveys the dreamy romance of "Close Your Eyes" with pure elegance. Evingson's most memorable song on Some Cats Know is the carefree and swinging "Bluesette," a Toots Thielemans/Norman Gimbel composition that, in fact, features Thielemans putting in a cheerful cameo on harmonica. Evingson turns in a wonderful performance, her mellifluous voice dancing lightly above the song's waltz time. A close second to "Bluesette" is the Dr. John-inspired version of "Accentuate The Positive," which is propelled by the New Orleans roll of Joe Pulice on drums and a syncopated street march of horns.

There are a surprising number of well-known veterans helping out Evingson on Some Cats Know. This is kind of peculiar when you consider that Evingson isn't the most famous singer out there, and her own group performs quite well throughout these tracks. (Sanford Moore and Reuben Ristrom are both excellent.) But who's complaining? Ray Brown's walking rhythm is ultra-cool on "Some Cats Know." Von Freeman adds smart contrast to Dave Karr's tenor on "I Love Paris/It's Alright With Me." Brother Jack McDuff slathers on the soul on "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," and Doc Severinsen blows a bluesy mute on his cameos - it all sounds terrific.

Even with Evingson changing things up quite often, everything seems to work on Some Cats Know. She even succeeds in revealing her hep side on a vocalese rendition of "Anthropology" at the album's close. But when it comes time to hitting the hot buttons, Evingson is matchless. When she purrs "Some cats know how to make the honey flow," you're either going to make a run for the hot lotion or a cold shower.

Connie Evingson performs with the vocal jazz ensemble Moore By Four, she hosts a jazz show on KBEM in the Twin Cities, and she also shows up at various jazz festivals across the country. Get a copy of Some Cats Know and you'll be waiting for her next appearance with a dozen roses in hand.

© 2003-2018 Connie Evingson