Nika Rejto: Midnite Kiss (2002)
On her newest release, Midnite Kiss, flautist Nika Rejto “burns” on an instrument that is often thought of as a delicate option in the woodwind family. In contrast to the breathy aggressiveness of the sound of Herbie Mann or the vibrato-laden shimmer of Lou Tabackin, Rejto’s tone is more classical in nature. While her tone may swing more to the classical side of flutedom, she really gets down to business of playing jazz in her inventive solo lines. Rejto puts the flute through a number of bop-inspired twists and turns and creates some wonderfully profound, and at times witty, statements. Rejto is also an inventive composer, penning eight of the ten tunes that comprise the 53 minutes of music on the CD. The other two tunes have Rejto and her bandmates paying homage to the standards “Imagination” by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen, and the Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields classic “The Way You Look Tonight.”
Rejto’s original compositions range from the Latin inspired title cut, a bouncy “Caterpillar Rag,” and a beautiful ballad “Crystal Door,” that reminds the listener that the flute can still be a delicate instrument capable of weaving poignant crystalline musical lines. The funky “Please Don’t Say Bonsoir” provides the listener with a great groove. The only relatively minor "weak link” on the CD would be the song “Melody of Love.” While Rejto possesses a pleasant voice, it is no match for her flute virtuosity- and “Melody of Love,” although probably inspired by a significant personal experience, pales in comparison to other performances on the CD. After a very swinging version of “Imagination,” the CD rounds out with a hauntingly sounding “Rejtospective Space,” with guitar solo by Rick Vandivier and flugelhorn solo by Dmitri Matheny. Another Latin-influenced “Avocado Madness” sets up the extremely introspective final tune of the CD Chante de Arbes.”
Nika Rejto is a wonderful jazz flautist who adds a new refreshing voice to her instrument. Rejto also demonstrates her more than capable abilities as a composer, arranger and bandleader. Midnite Kiss is pure pleasure to listen to, and is an excellent work of art. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Midnite Kiss, Caterpillar Rag, The Way You Look Tonight, Crystal Door, Please Don't Say Bonsoir, Melody of Love, Imagination, Rejtospective Space, Avocado Madness, Chante des Arbes
Personnel: Nika Rejto, flute and vocals; Bevan Manson, piano; Rick Vandivier, guitars; Perry Thoorsell, bass; Peter Barshay, bass; Paul Van Wageninghen, drums; John Santos, percussion; Linda Tillery, background vocals; Dmitri Matheny, flugelhorn
Record Label: UNika Records