Jane Ira Bloom is one of those musicians I'd known about by reputation but hadn't actually heard.
Now, having listened at last to her most recent album, Like Silver, Like Song
, I am somewhat at a loss as to what to say about it.
Even though well-playedlet there be no doubt about thatit is clearly on the outer periphery of jazz as I know and appreciate it. Whereas the basic musical elementsmelody, harmony, rhythmare securely in place, the mood is primarily low-key and ethereal, there's little in the way of meaningful improvisation, and the ambiance is often created and nurtured by electronic contrivances that may be quite pleasing to some but leave me unmoved.
The album consists of fourteen tracks played essentially without respite, which one assumes is designed to lend the impression of a suite. Bloom composed a dozen of the themes and co-wrote "Altair 4 with Jamie Saft. The lone maverick in the herd is Rodgers and Hammerstein's "I Have Dreamed from the Broadway musical The King and I. How it got there is anyone's guess, but it does serve to illustrate what Bloom is capable of doing when working with first-class material.
On the plus side, Bloom elicits a warm and sensuous sound from her soprano saxophone, but one may ask to what purpose. At least, this one may. Clearly, she and her colleagues have some purpose in mind, else they'd simply be wasting their time. Others, as suggested, may find the music presented herein pleasurable and persuasive. This reviewer isn't one of them, although the proficiency that is required to produce it is duly acknowledged and respected.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Like Silver, Like Song, this is apparently the direction in which jazz is moving. One may argue that Bloom's quartet, while not ahead of the curve, is at least striving to keep pace with it. Those who wish to go along are welcome to climb aboard and enjoy the ride.
Track Listing: Dreaming in the Present Tense; Unconscious Forces; Singing in Stripes; Altair 4; Vanishing Hat; White Light; No Orchestra; Magnetic; In an Instant; Mercury; Night Skywriting; Dark Knowledge; I Have Dreamed; Singing in Stripes (61:08).
Personnel: Jane Ira Bloom: soprano sax, live electronics; Jamie Saft: keyboards, electronics; Mark
Dresser: bass; Bobby Previte: drums, electronic drums.