Laila Salins: Elevator Into The Sky (2013)
On Smash, pianist/composer Patricia Barber wrote songs quite reminiscent of the late American poet Anne Sexton's (1928-1974) poetry: abstract and almost, but not quite, inaccessible. On Elevator Into The Sky, Latvian-American singer/composer Laila Salins adapts poems by Sexton for her lyric book, backing them with a competent and far-reaching band. This project is as ambitious as easily imagined. Sexton's confessional free verses are not easily tamed musically. Salins approaches Sexton's craggy images by presenting them juxtaposed against pianist Jamie Reynold's often anxious figures that swell and recede with the needs of the lyrics. Marty Ehrlich's smart reeds bolster Setxon's delicate-yet-durable poetic images while providing the slight Eastern European ethnic touch.
The reward in listening to Elevator Into The Sky resides in appreciating Salins' attempt to adapt difficult material to music. The result of Salins' efforts is often free form singing laid across equally liberated accompaniment. Her voice is hipster fresh with a digital contemporary gleam that gently guides her training into those uncharted creative territories artists are often unprepared for, regardless of their training. "Riding The Elevator Into The Sky" and "Jesus Walking" offer a moody, hinged tone poem both amorphous and grounded. The latter proves to be a pastoral ballad that dramatically builds itself into a grand concert piece for Salins.
This is the music that lays the way for future experimentation and creation.
Track Listing: Starry Night; Earth; Music Swims Back to Me; Frenzy; Riding The Elevator Into The Sky; Jesus Walking; Anna Who Was Mad; Welcome, Morning; The Fury Of god’s Goodbye; The Fury of Sunrises; The Fury of Guitars and Sopranos; The Fury of Sundays.
Personnel: Laila Salins: vocals; Jamie Reynolds: piano; Marty Ehrlich: soprano saxophone, clarinet; Matt Wigton: bass; Fred Kennedy: drums; Jim Matus: guitar, laouto, laoutar; Lalita Salins: flute, background vocals; Tony Vacca and Nur Habib Tiven: percussion.
Record Label: Self Produced