How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A Long Story is a most satisfying chronicle that carefully explores pianist Anat Fort's delicate compositions. Fort has been provoking praise with a worldly style that blends Mid-Eastern hues into pieces that prominently feature her classical/jazz training. Like her playing, her compositions can straddle diverse worlds and impress with a sensitivity that is comfortable with tales that veer into free verse or melodies that may brush up against popular idioms.
Admittedly influenced by the works of pianists Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley, Fort has brought together, for her ECM debut, a hand- picked group of supporters. Drummer Paul Motian is the commonality amongst her muses and he is a perfect choice to augment these pieces with bassist Ed Schuller. Clarinetist Perry Robinson is somewhat the wild card here and, as usual, he ingeniously goes both with and against the grain. The music's adaptability, the musicians' creativity and the magical cohesion that an ECM production seems always to impart are all at work.
Fort has structured the session in such a way that she can communicate, fairly intimately, with each of these experienced players; duets here and there, trios, the full quartet at times and the three variations on her melodic "Just Now promote relationships. Robinson adds a touch of dreamy blues after Schuller lulls on "Lullaby and then takes Fort into his confidence during "Chapter-Two before adding a wood flute-like ocarina to the reflective "Something 'bout Camels. Motian is, of course, the touchstone amongst all this, adding his trademark colorations and lovely understated accents while muscling up the piano trio pieces. An exceptionally strong major label debut.
Track Listing: Just Now, Var. I; Morning: Good; Lullaby; Chapter-Two; Just Now, Var. II; Not a Dream?; Rehaired; As Two/Something 'bout Camels; Not the Perfect Storm; Chapter-One; Just Now, Var. III.
Personnel: Anat Fort: piano; Perry Robinson: clarinet, ocarina; Ed Schuller: bass; Paul Motian: drums.