Kerry Politzer: You Took Me In (2007)
Following her three releases as a jazz pianist who composes much of her material, Kerry Politzer steps out as a singer-songwriter with You Took Me In. As well as performing all the vocals, she plays piano with the band, which consists entirely of jazz musicians. Although the turn from jazz piano to pop-oriented song may seem surprising, Politzer has actually been active as a singer-songwriter for several years, and has received awards in songwriting competitions.
On the songs that center on finding or seeking fulfillment in love, Politzer's voice is bright and sensuous, reminiscent of pop-jazz singer Norah Jones. A case in point is Politzer's title song, the sunny and laid-back "You Took Me In, which delights in the shelter and comfort of a good relationship.
Politzer's voice is silky on the soul-jazz-styled "I Would Give the World to You. Towards the end of the tune, her emotive obbligato uses contrasting inflections to set off the melody. She also plays blues-tinged piano throughout, soloing on the concluding vamp. Musically similar, although less intense, is "Love Is in the Atmosphere, which enhances a simple melody with tight harmonies.
In "I Hope You Find Me, a slow rock tune with tasty guitar work by Tom Guarna, Politzer portrays a lonely young woman in the big city who yearns to be noticed by someone. Rousing opener "Always is a testament to happiness that's backed by an aggressively bouncy brass choir (George Colligan's trumpet, multi-tracked) that nods to 1960s jazz-influenced pop.
Politzer takes an edgier approach in the straight-ahead rock "Wallflower, expressing pique and determination through engaging lyrics that rhyme "wallflower with "no power. On the punk-ish "I Cried Wolf , she takes an interesting turn to a lower-pitched, throatier vocal style, backed by suitably raunchy bass and drums.
With Politzer's lyrics set to Kenny Lockwood's folk-ish, minor pentatonic melody, "Joseph is a quiet rock ballad about a young bellhop who yearns for a better life. Politzer's voice is open and warm as she sings the role of sisterly friend. The angelic-sounding backing vocals interweave pleasingly with Zach Brook's violin.
"Trampoline centers on Politzer's novel metaphor for a life partner who supports her every leap into a new project, and to whom she returns as surely as gravity. While the band plays at a deliberate 3/4-time pace that falls into the first beat of each measure, her voice floats on the well-crafted tune, sending the second syllable of "trampoline up an octave. With this song, Politzer creates an interesting musical image of a happily complex relationship that encompasses both comfort and risk.
Track Listing: Always; I Hope You Find Me; Love Is in the Atmosphere; Wallflower; I Cried Wolf; Joseph; I Would Give the World to You; Lifeboat; You Took Me In; Grey; Trampoline.
Personnel: Kerry Politzer, piano, voice; Lonnie Plaxico, acoustic bass (2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11); Chris Higgins, electric bass (1, 5, 9); George Colligan, drums and synths (4, 9, 10, 11), trumpet (1); Tom Guarna, electric and acoustic guitars; Zach Brook, violin (6).
Record Label: Polisonic