Beverly Church Hogan: Sweet Invitation

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Beverly Church Hogan

Sweet Invitation

(Café Pacific Records)

June 24, 2022

Reviewed by Alix Cohen

Sometimes a voice just hooks you. It’s not that any of this skillfully produced CD or even its excellent musicianship presents anything very different, it’s just that the mostly 1950s sounds sieve through a smoky, throaty voice full of experience and heart.

Forty-five years after putting aside an incipient career, Beverly Church Hogan was invited to sing at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, California. It “took.” She now performs there annually.
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This is her second CD.

“Don’cha Go ’Way Mad” (Illinois Jacquet/Jimmy Mundy/Al Stillman) arrives as a  plain sailing swing with a nifty bass.
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A buoyant “Falling in Love with Love” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) engages a giddy saxophone. “Here’s That Rainy Day” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) is a Latin-tinted fox trot with a soulful sax and a wistful guitar. Hogans’s back-of the-throat vibrato adds frisson. The song is a head-bobbing, shoulder-shifting sway.  Something in the artist’s “warn out” resonates.

“I Got Lost in His Arms” (Irving Berlin) sounds personal. Hogan savors the lyric as if she is conjuring someone. The piano is tender, meditative. “Dark” quivers; “lawst” stretches out and the cello adds shadow. An evocative “When October Goes” (Barry Manilow/Johnny Mercer) drifts in like one long sigh with an occasional, appealing tremor. “Why Try to Change Me Now?” (Joseph Allen McCarthy/Cy Coleman) takes us back to genial, shrugging swing.

Featuring: John Proulx (piano/arranger), Bob Sheppard (saxophone), Grant Geissman (guitar), Lyman Medeiros (bass), Clayton Cameron (drums), Dean Koba (drums), and Kevin Winward (percussion).

The artist is now 86. Brava.

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.