For Kate McGarry, music is not simply about practiced skill, but an extension of her entire spirit. With a reverence for traditional jazz form and a flair for innovative styling, she searches for the essence of each song, then infuses it with her own soul's perspective. The resultant interpretations are inventive, mesmerizing, and unforgettable. The Monterey County Herald calls the impact of a McGarry performance ".the emotional feeling of having one's breath taken away, with a groove's timing or with the nuance of a phrase turned just so."
McGarry, one of ten children in a very musical family, grew up in Hyannis, Massachusetts. While attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she studied with Dr. Horace Boyer and renowned avant-garde saxophonist Archie Shepp. After receiving her Bachelor's degree in African American Music and Jazz, she toured with the Boston vocal ensemble One O'clock Jump and as a soloist, she appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Clark Terry and the Hank Jones All-Star Quartet.
In 1986, McGarry relocated to Los Angeles, where she continued honing her craft in top jazz rooms such as Catalina's and the Jazz Bakery. At the same time, she worked as a composer and/or performer on numerous film soundtracks, including the 2001 release "Hit and Runway", the 1996 Sony Classics release "Caught", and the1993 release "Boiling Point" starring Wesley Snipes and Dennis Hopper. Furthermore, she performed on soundtracks to numerous IMAX films, including "The Living Sea" and "The Discoverers", and on commercials that aired on networks such as HBO, CNN, and Lifetime. McGarry also provided backing vocals on Kenny Loggins' Grammy® nominated House on Pooh Corner. And she completed her first recording, entitled Easy to Love (Vital Music). The collection blended jazz with Brazilian, Celtic, and folk traditions. Music Magazine said her performance on the album ".shows taste and restraint worthy of the most mature jazz singer."
After taking a two-year break to study and lead music courses at an ashram, McGarry returned to the east coast to resume her singing career, moving to New York City in 1999. By the summer of 2000, she had recorded her second CD, which she put out independently in 2001. The album captivated executives at Palmetto Records, who signed McGarry and repackaged "Show Me" for a spring 2003 release, making McGarry the first vocalist to appear on the prestigious jazz label. In preparation for the reissue, McGarry played to a sold-out house at New York's premiere jazz room, the Jazz Standard, in January 2003.
Billboard Magazine has high praise for the CD, declaring "The New York-rooted artist makes a fine impression with 'Show Me', a sterling collection on which she dares to combine a reverence for the jazz form with a decidedly alternative approach to her material."