Beverley Church Hogan charms on “Can’t Get Out of This Mood”

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Jazz vocalist Beverley Church Hogan was a rising jazz performer at the tender age of 12. As a preteen, Church Hogan sang on the radio in her native Montreal. She had earned the gig by winning a vocal performance contest. By her late teens, she was doing club dates and singing in USO type military shows. However, Church Hogan wanted a break from Montreal winters and moved to the much sunnier locale of Los Angeles. She earned a recording contract with Capitol Records at the age of 21. But not only was she 21 years old, but she was also married and had a baby – – the contract required 58 weeks of touring. Ultimately, Church Hogan couldn’t accept the terms.

But, since 2002, Church Hogan has been singing at the Catalina Jazz Club. The first gig was via invitation, and after she packed the house that first fateful night, Church Hogan has been a yearly fixture at the club, as have the eager fans who come to hear her.

On her new album, “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” Church Hogan brings a calm expressiveness to romantic songs. Her medium-to-low register is flexible and easy to follow. She does justice to songs of love and longing, and brings to life jazz from another era.

 

“Take My Breath Away” by Beverley Church Hogan

The song begins with an engaging boom of an upright bass and the bright staccato of drums, including cymbals and perhaps a triangle. A piano joins in the sophisticated, but understated soundscape. Church Hogan’s voice leads the soundscape. The lyrics tell of a gently romantic encounter. Her voice is perfect for the kind of wistful-in-the-present narrative that the lyrics weave. A flute showcase keeps up the energetic sway of the piece without overbearing the essentially gentle song. Church Hogan’s phrasing plays up the poetry of the lyrics and it is interesting to hear where the rhyme scheme will go under her experienced command. A fun song for swaying alone or with someone that will take the listener’s breath away.

“Can’t Get Out of This Mood” by Beverley Church Hogan

Often, listeners put a lot of pressures on title tracks. And in this case, the singer does not disappoint. Church Hogan’s voice invites listeners into a world where the way people interact with each other romantically matter. The moody piano plays well with Church Hogan’s voice. The saxophone is classic and accents her vocals in almost a call-and-response format. There is something very nice about her jazz of yesteryear approach to music-making.

Throughout Church Hogan’s debut album, listeners are struck by the idea that “Can’t Get Out of This Mood” is exactly that, a debut. Sure, by certain standards, it is 60 years too late, but most people who appreciate art understand that it doesn’t come with expiration dates. Most jazz fans will simply be glad that Church Hogan was able to see her dream come to life, and benefit a world of listeners in the process.

The album will be available Jan. 25, 2019.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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