When Lights Are Low
Why Did I Choose You?
Slow Dance with Me
Brotherhood of Man
Some Cats Know
When the Wind Was Green
Willow Weep for Me
Katie Thiroux (bass, voice); Ken Peplowski (tenor saxophone, clarinet);
Roger Neumann (tenor and soprano saxophones); Justin Kauflin (piano); Matt
Recorded November 2016, Tritone Studios
There’s something refreshingly off-kilter about Katie Thiroux and maybe
‘Off Beat’ alludes to it. The bassist and vocalist leads her tight band
through ten tracks. In addition to pianist Justin Kauflin and drummer Matt
Witek, Ken Peplowski lends his authoritative chops on five tracks, on two
of which he plays tenor and on three of which soprano sax. Fellow reedman
Roger Neumann joins Peplowski on two tracks, once on tenor and the other on
The title track is one that June Christy sang but it’s not that well known.
Its lyrics are droll and articulate and suit Thiroux perfectly from her
engaging delivery of it. The arrangement is by Neumann and his soprano and,
here, Peplowski’s clarinet, ensure a ‘high line’ instrumentally. Kauflin
takes a splendid solo. Taken at a suitably mid-tempo, When Lights Are Low receives a warmly textured vocal as well as
illustrating a good choice in standards, just as Why Did I Choose You? shows a nice line in ballads –
affectionately done. Thiroux’s own piece, Slow Dance with Me is a
workout for her trio led by Kauflin’s blues-drenched and stylish pianism,
supported in rock-steady fashion by the composer’s bass playing and Matt
Witek’s unshowy drums.
The pianist is something of a star here, his finger-clicking solo on Frank
Loesser’s Brotherhood of Man being something of an album high
point as well as a tribute to the bass player’s generosity and democracy of
spirit. Katie Thiroux takes a bop scat solo on Ray’s Idea
supported once again by her eagerly swinging confrères and the Lieber and
Stoller Some Cats Know encourages an opening bass blues solo of
molten intent, before ushering in Peoplowski and then her own slow and
There’s a stripped-back feel to When the Wind was Green where
Peplowski’s clarinet obbligato to Thiroux’s bass and vocal provides just
the right kind of timbral contrast – the use of his tenor might have killed
the atmosphere. On Ellington’s Happy Reunion – no vocal here - the
two tenor front line coils around itself productively and creatively. The
final track sees Thiroux’s bass slapping and singing, a solo performance of
great spirit, skill, co-ordination and enchanting fun.
It ends a 50-minute album full of variety and charm.