Music with its roots in the Jazz tradition is always moving forward, always incorporating new influences. Mr Lewis’ group brings a rap inflenced groove to the music formerly known as Jazz. While I enjoy individual tracks on this album, listening to the whole thing at once, it gets a little “samey”. Mr Lewis’ emulates the rhythmic cadences of a rapper with his Sax, but without lyrical variation, it ends up a bit like finding the backing tracks from a great lost rap album.
It was Pharoah Sanders Soprano Sax playing that initially grabbed my ears on and pulled me in to this recording, but listening closer, the real hero of the session is Cecil McBee on Bass. His solid playing is the root which allows the flowers of Alice’s harp and the brambles of Pharoah’s Soprano to flourish.
Romantic classically inspired Jazz, I guess you would call this. But, Romantic, as in Chopin, Scumann, Liszt, Tchaikovsky; not Romance, as in “Without Finance”. Though, I’m sure playing this music isn’t particularly remunerative, as they do a fair bit of “egg scrambling”.
Rebecca Foon’s second album as Saltland for Constellation Records, featuring Australian Violinist Warren Ellis on a number of tracks, is a Dream/Drone masterwork. Lovely. Hat-tip to the wonderful Michele K-Tel for bringing this one home.
Really, you could put almost anything on top of a rhythm section this solid and it would sound good. Kind of gravy that we get Nels Cline’s nuevo-television squonk and Nick Reinhart’s Coyne-esque yodelling. Propulsive.
Lest you think all I listen to is Jazz and Improv. I enjoy Ms Marling’s vocal performance so much, I find the production choices on Semper Femina, (string sections, loud guitars, overdubs, etc.) distract a bit from what I consider her strengths as a performer. But I appreciate a restless spirit.