This second album by Sara Caswell makes a strong bid to place her in the forefront of jazz violinists. The beginning of But Beautiful
will remind you of prime-time Stephane Grappellithe first three selections, "The Way You Look Tonight," "Moon and Sand," and the title tune, are all played with great attention to melody and, in the case of the opener, swing.
The Caswell original "Professor ABC" (dedicated to her father) is surprisingly right out of the Sonny Rollins calypso songbook and an added treat, while a version of Wayne Shorter's "Black Nile" offers a sense of adventure as respected pianist Lynne Arriale opens up the composition. Additional variety of material is provided per the inclusion of American folk music in renditions of "Shenandoah" and "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair," plus Monk's "Straight No Chaser" and the lovely Sergio Mihanovich's "Sometime Ago." Sara Caswell's sister, Rachel, adds vocals on Billy Joel's poignant ballad "And So It Goes," "Shenandoah," and Ron Carter's "Receipt Please."
Sara Caswell is the product of a musical family. Her parents were musicologists at Indiana University, where Sara studied with David Baker. She is currently a New York resident and a student at Manhattan School of Music. Her performance on this album, along with her most able group, bodes well for future recognition.
Personnel: Sara Caswell: violin; Lynne Arriale: piano; Larry Kohut, Jeremy Allen, Steve Davis: bass;
Rachel Caswell: vocals.