Quick and to the Point
: Fresh vibe-led jazz. Check it out
Vibraphonist Laura Friedman, otherwise known as "Lalo," steps out on this notable self-titled release. Her drummer/ percussionist Todd Isler and electric bassist Kermit Driscoll manage a contemporary aural distinctiveness, enhanced by judicious usage of ethnic percussive color (such as the use of udu, djembe and tabla drums). Also supporting this sound: Lalo's breathy energetic pedalingboth for support and sonic enlargementand a reasonable approach to moods, transitions, changes and chord development.
Even so, Lalo is characterized by appealing musical movements and expressions as intelligently written as they are keenly performed. Their sovereignty over their means of expression reveals itself in such multi-storied richness as in "Dance: Lucy's Story," which frees them from any allegiance other than playing Friedman's music in true accord, wherever it might lead. Indeed, freedom reigns within affective renderings inclusive of some humor, although the effort required in handling some aspects of its contemporary sonic imprintoddly expressed and timedmarks this as a serious effort.
Technically speaking, all three musicians are in tiptop shape. Lalo cascades, chastises, squeezes, and massages the vibes. The skin beater's adeptness manifests itself through grooving, even in evanescent pocketstheir character notwithstandingand touching the music in ways it begs to be touched. Rounding the bottom up on Lalo, Driscoll's bass rivals all others in effects, support, soloing and atmospheric manacling. Specialists drop in for "Dance: Majesty," the sole vocal piece, performed to great effect by Kyler England and "Traveling," with guitarist Judson Crane, which should repeat itself more often. The latter two musicians expand the already spacious range of possibilities afforded by Lalo's music.
Personnel: Lalo: Vibraphone with pedalboard. Kermit Driscoll: Electric bass. Todd Isler: Drums and
percussion. Special Guests: Judson Crane: guitar: (3); Kyler England: vocals (7).