Jane Ira Bloom has a visual approach to sound. She is inspired by visual textures like the action paintings of Jackson Pollock (Chasing Paint
, Arabesque, 2003); she adds her abstract black and white photography to her new release; but she describes Like Silver, Like Song
as a continuous visual dream. A melodic dream, to be sure, with different scenes in fourteen tracks that flow and seamlessly merge from one into the other, adding new dimensions and musical interpretation, suggesting a narrative that begins with "Dreaming in the Present Tense," covers Rodgers and Hammerstein's "I Have Dreamed," and repeats (as the closer) Bloom's "Singing in Stripes." Her command of real-time electronic processing enables her to sculpt her sound.
On Like Silver, Like Song Bloom relies on two longtime associates, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Bobby Previte, who played with her on The Red Quartets (Arabesque, 1999), Sometimes The Magic (Arabesque, 2001), and Chasing Paint. Keyboard and electronics player Jamie Saft joins her for the first time, replacing Fred Herscha Bloom associate for the last twenty yearsin this new incarnation of her quartet. The disc was recorded after the group's performances at Tonic and Sweet Rhythm in New York. All players share an adventurous vocabulary and opt for inventiveness, gifted with an almost telepathic interplay and open to the electronic soundworlds that Bloom, Saft, and Previte use as an organic extensions of their instruments or enhancements of their tone.
Bloom has a lyrical, rich, very emotional, and warm soprano saxophone tone, and the clever addition of live electronics adds an airy ambience to it. Her compositions blend beautifully into each other. The haunting ballad "No Orchestra" follows the free "White Night" and leads into the funky "Magnetic"; all three compositions seem to interact naturally. Bloom's cover of "I Have Dreamed" begins with a melodic soprano saxophone solo stating the theme, than Dresser joins in, first playing pizzicato and then arco, bringing the melody to a sad climax. The following reprise of "Singing in Stripes" shifts the mood to a more optimistic ending.
Bloom writes simple and accessible melodies, but Dresser, Previte, and Saft spark these melodies and load them with tons of kinetic energy, spontaneity, and a sense of experimentalism that bring her ideas into full articulation. Like Silver, Like Song is a captivating achievement.
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Personnel: Jane Ira Bloom: soprano saxophone, live electronics; Jamie Saft: piano, wurlitzer, fender
rhodes and electronics; Mark Dresser-bass; Bobby Previte: drums, electronics drums.