Les Diaboliques (Schweizer - Nicols - Leandre): Splitting Image
On Splitting Image, this Trio delve into highly conversational interaction while purveying an overall sense of melodrama throughout these sixteen pieces. “Helas!”, features the stylistic scat-like vocals of Maggie Nicols as the band improvise through countless themes and motifs while maintaining a sense of continuity and purpose. Here, Ms. Nicols vocalizes atop amiable and multi-textured chord progressions provided by pianist Irene Schweizer as Joelle Leandre maintains the protean pulse via her much heralded if not legendary expertise on double-bass. The passages are meaningful and undoubtedly interesting yet the band pursue an affable or almost casual atmosphere throughout. Maggie Nicols’ expansive vocal range and diverse tactics are spellbinding as she skirts through octaves as if it were child’s play. Schweizer and Leandre provide heaps of melody, counter-melody, contrasting undercurrents and ever-evolving thematic development. “In a Balladesque Mood” is pure theater! Here, Ms Nicols recites/vocalizes lyrics in somewhat of a mock fashion as she fuses traditional balladry with an entertaining nonchalant cabaret style approach. Nicols advances the pace on “Splitting Image” through fast and furious scat-like incantations. “Who Is Adam” offers another slice of musical improvisation along with Nicols’ operatic and at times cabaret-like spoken word iterations atop a somewhat kaleidoscopic musical backdrop.
Splitting Image is magnificent, beguiling and brimming with vivid imagery as it elicits thoughts of an off-Broadway play – complete with hefty doses of theatrical mannerisms, portrayed through music and lyric. Recommended....... * * * *
Irene Schweizer; Piano: Maggie Nicols; Voice: Joelle Leandre; Bass
Intakt website: www.intaktrec.ch
Record Label: Intakt Records
Style: Modern Jazz