Jasmine Lovell-Smith's Towering Poppies: Fortune Songs (2012)
Lovell-Smith, who originally hails from New Zealand and relocated to New York, bucks the faster-is-better and take-the-instrument-into-the-stratosphere trends that are so prevalent among soprano players. She prefers a measured approach that allows her to speak in quietude. Plaintive strains and peaceable melodies prevail throughout Fortune Songs. Lovell-Smith marries her modest, middle register musings with trumpeter Big Chief Russell Moore's even keel trumpet as both horn players take their time in taking in the surroundings.
The music can be bittersweet, yet rhythmically upbeat ("Confidence (One)") or loose and exploratory in nature ("Darkling I Listen"). Bassist Patrick Reid distinguishes himself when the music leans toward the rhythmically amorphous, while pianist Cat Toren tends to shine in more stable and sunny places ("Lover's Knot"). Drummer Kate Pittman is perhaps the most flexible of the bunch, adding shades of color and providing firm direction.
Fortune Songs isn't a hit-you-over-the-head album, but the music makes a real impact nonetheless. This is visceral stuff that seeps into the pores and the heart.
Track Listing: Confidence (One); Darkling I Listen; Let Go Be Free; Confidence (Two); Seven Of Swords; A Nest To Fly; Lover's Knot; When The Tide Is Right.
Personnel: Jasmine Lovell-Smith: soprano saxophone; Russell Moore: trumpet; Cat Toren: piano; Patrick Reid: bass; Kate Pittman: drums.
Record Label: Paintbox Records
Style: Modern Jazz