Jazz Review : S.F.'s Tuck & Patti: Gifted Pair, Rich Potential

What, you may ask, is a Tuck & Patti? Good question, given the possibilities. It is not, for example, a WGA strike replacement for the Smothers Brothers, an Ice Follies clown act or a new cosmetic surgery procedure.

In fact, the real Tuck & Patti--a singer/guitarist duo from San Francisco--are a lot more fascinating than any of the above. Making their Los Angeles debut at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Cinegrill on Tuesday night, the gifted pair, partners in marriage as well as music, played a set that was rich with potential.

Moving easily from a smoldering, pure jazz reading of “My Romance” to a blues-tinged “Tears of Joy,” singer Patti Cathcart looked and often sounded like a young Carmen McRae. Despite an occasional flutter of opening night jitters, she displayed a burgeoning range of interpretive and improvisational skills that holds great promise for the future.


Guitarist Tuck Andress, working more as a co-equal musical associate rather than an accompanist, was all over his instrument, simultaneously producing percussive rhythms, roving bass lines and rich harmonic fills.

Tuck & Patti’s only real problem was a tendency to stretch their material too far. Almost everything they played would have benefited from a more concise, to-the-point performance. And, effective as Tuck’s accompaniments may have been, there were times, especially in Patti’s extended vamps, when one wished for the support and contrast that a drummer might have provided.

But there’s no denying the duo’s potential, and Patti, in particular, appears to be one of the finest young jazz singers to come down the pike in this decade.

Tuck & Patti return to the Cinegrill on the next two Tuesdays, May 17 and 24.