How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Throughout A Work of Heart clarinetist Harry Skoler displays an intimate, chamber swing sensibility that sings above a finely meshed group of musicians. Skoler is not interested in pyrotechnics; he is interested in the emotional nuances of ten carefully chosen compositions.
On five of the tracks Donn Trenner has arranged strings tastefully and affectively. He is also the pianist throughout whose solos and sensitive accompaniment to Skoler contribute significantly to the success of this recording. The guitarists, Garrison Fewell and Joe Lano, are notable for their concise, thoughtful solos often displaying impressive technique and swing.
Harry Skoler plays with a melancholy but hopeful tone that adds a poignancy to his classically tinged solos. His clarinet sound has a deep, rich quality that is especially affective in the slower and medium tempo tracks. A Work of Heart is a meticulously thought through and executed recording. If you’re a jazz fan who usually starts looking for the door when jazz strings are mentioned this recording might be the one to turn your head around.
Tracks:How Am I To Know; Coisa Feita; Don’t Ever Go Away; Portrait of Daniel; Estate; Every Time We Say Goodbye; Your Story; Sophisticated Yenta; Soliloquy; Goodbye Mr. Evans. (58:33)
Personnel: Harry Skoler, clarinet; Donn Trenner, piano; Garrison Fewell or Joe Lano, guitar; Rich Margolis, vibraphone; Roger Kimball or Bruce Phillips, bass; Tim Gilmore or John Abraham, drums.
Becky Ramsey, DeAnn Burger, Carol Jackson, Erika Syroid, Carlene San Fillipo, Frank Cropper, violins; Mary Trimble, viola; Barbara Gurley, cello; Beth Lano, french horn.