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With just two exceptions, Barbara Montgomery's new album relies entirely on her own compositions, many of which she collaborated on with her long time accompanist Barry Sames. The two exceptions are carry overs from her previous album Dakini Land which paid tribute to the compositions of Chick Corea and Neville Potter. The purpose of this album is one of providing therapy from the terrible events of September 11 and its aftermath. Consequently, the material on this session is very serious stuff. Although Montgomery lightens up now and then with a touch of optimism and a bit of humor, there's not much happy music here. The songs seem to represent different levels of remedy and reconciliation. The highly improvisational "Vox Barbara" is "composed"on the spot and addresses the issue of whether only the strong can survive the trials and tribulations of modern times. This is free jazz in the sense that the words appear to be spontaneous expressions of fears, hopes, anxieties and aspirations all expressed with in the framework of highly emotional sounds created by the instruments, especially Chris Farr's sax. The remaining songs have their lyrics reprinted in the liner notes. One of the more haunting pieces on the CD is "An Illusion" with Montgomery's cool, profound voice played against John Swana's soft muted trumpet, a la Miles Davis. There's some hope in "When We First Met" which comes pretty close to a love song, although ending up with the pessimistic conclusion that "I thought you were in love, not that you cared for me."
As terrible as it was, I for one am beginning to become a bit leery about events hitched to that modern day of infamy, September 11 (although other unhappy events in Montgomery's life at this time seem to darken her thoughts). Not everything needs to be tied to 9-11 to make it appreciated and acceptable. This album, while oozing with dark colors, is good enough to stand on its own without reference to the Twin Towers attack. Visit Montgomery at http://www.bjazz.com.
Track Listing: An Illusion; E-mail Blues; As the Sun (Little Sunflower); Idle Moments; Armando's Rhumba; You're Always in My Space; When We First Met; Web of Glass; Vox Barbara
Personnel: Barbara Montgomery - Vocals; Barry Sames - Piano; Chris Farr - Tenor Sax; John Swana - trumpet/flugelhorn; Lee Smith - Acoustic Bass; Chico Huff - Electric Bass; Craig Ebner, Steve Giordano - Guitar; Marlon Simon - Drums/Percussion; Tony Miceli - Vibraphone; Gregory McDonald, Wilby Fletcher, Dave Brown - Drums; Abdou Mboup - Percussion