“As exquisite as always”
Just because she’ll go 13 years between solo albums doesn’t mean Labeque isn’t busy keeping her fingers flying. Showing off her jazz side, once again Labeque teams up with the crème of jazz and rock for a set that will set your ears on fire. One of the more passionate players out there, these tunes show her being treated with respect by Sting, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and others who don’t have to take a back seat to anyone. With just the right mix of jazz and classical, this is top notch adult listening, particularly when nothing less than first class playing by consummate pros will do. First class throughout.
The Labeque sisters often go their own individual ways on recording projects, and for this one Katia - who has the stronger pop/rock connections - has put together a crossover album that achieves a very wide appeal without getting kitschy or compromising as so many crossover albums do. This dozen-track effort reminds me a bit of Joshua Bell’s current CD with many different friends from the pop world invited in to perform with him.
She leads off with two tunes written by Sting and sung by him, with Katia at the piano. Then she joins first Chick Corea and then Herbie Hancock for a couple fine two-piano improvisations on standards - the second running over 11 minutes. Two classical selections and one soundtrack theme are part of the mix: piano pieces by Chopin and Satie, as well as Meditation from Bernard Herrmann’s music for Wuthering Heights. Other highlights include Katia’s blazing two-piano excursion with the great Gonzalo Rubalcaba on Besame Mucho, and her own Katia Labeque Band in Radiohead’s Exit Music - which interestingly is not the closing selection but in the middle of the CD. The inside of the three-fold cardboard jacket features a center-spread shot of Katie in a sexy navel-baring pose.