The State of Grace 2009: Deanna Witkowski, Ike Sturm and Jeff Baker
A jazzier than usual "Just A Closer Walk" opens the disc, smacking of Vieux Carre charm. Southern gospel spells large in Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," Baker's voice lean and bright. Jensen provides a spirited saxophone sole. "I'll Fly Away," that country-bluegrass staple, is given a breezy treatment. A restrained Baker sings, understated, the chorus over Johnson's fat bass. "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" swings with a solid momentum, a toe tapping pleasure propelled by Bishop's exuberant drumming. Baker scats with the best of them, shades of Louis Armstrong.
Baker wears his faith on his sleeve on this disc and in its liner notes. In today's fractious socio-political environment, that takes guts. Like Ike Sturm's JazzMass, Of Things Not Seen is a solid recording regardless of the muse.
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Tracks and Personnel
From This Place
Tracks: Let My Prayer Rise (Psalm 141); I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say; From This Place; Evening Mass: Kyrie; Evening Mass: Gloria; Evening Mass: Sanctus; Evening Mass: Agnus Dei; O, The Deep, Deep Love; Christ The Light; Never Before; Make Your Wonders Known; Pass Me Not; Keep In Mind; Take My Life And Let It Be; Song of Simeon.
Personnel: Deanna Witkowski: piano, vocals; Donny McCaslin: soprano and tenor saxophones; John Patitucci: acoustic and electric basses; Scott Latzky: drums; Laila Biali: vocals (5, 7, 10, 13); Peter Eldridge: vocals (5, 7, 13); Kate McGarry: vocals (5, 7, 10, 13).
Tracks: Kyrie; Gloria; Interlude; Just As I am; Offertory: Stillness; Sanctus; Thanksgiving; Our Father; Agnus Dei; Shine.
Personnel: Ike Sturm: bass, composer; Loren Stillman: alto sax; Donny McCaslin: tenor sax; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet; Adam Benjamin: piano, electric piano; Ted Poor: drums; Ryan Ferreira: guitar; Misty Ann Sturm: vocals; string orchestra and choir.
Of Things Not Seen
Tracks: Just A Closer Walk; People Get Ready; I'll Fly Away; His Eye Is On The Sparrow; Be Thou My Vision; Come Thou Fount; Hallelujah Anyhow; Pass Me Not; Prayer; Full Of Grace; O Sweet Gaze.
Personnel: Jeff Baker: vocals; Bill Anschell: piano; Jeff Johnson: bass; John Bishop: drums; Brent Jensen: saxophone; Dave Peterson: guitar.