Jane Ira Bloom: The Red Quartets (1999)
These quartet pieces may have been dubbed "red," but many colors are in fact represented: the moderate swing of "Always Hope," "Monk’s Rec Room," and "Einstein’s Red/Blue Universe"; the beautiful balladry of "Tell Me Your Diamonds"; the free play of "Emergency"; and the stylistic melange of "It’s a Corrugated World." Drummer Bobby Previte shines on the angular "Jax Calypso," while bassist Mark Dresser takes the spotlight with an arco solo on "Climb Inside Her Eyes." Pianist Fred Hersch displays his exquisite touch behind Bloom on two standards, "Time After Time" and "How Deep Is the Ocean." Bloom and Hersch’s deft unison lines — like the ones heard on "Five Full Fathoms" — are surely one of the most distinctive sounds in jazz.
Bloom’s originals are characterized by economy and restraint. Her soprano solos stress melody, not chops. Her band respects this aesthetic choice by keeping a lid on the dynamics. Even the free pieces are marked by a relative sense of calm; they don’t boil over into cacophony. Perhaps the color red is emblematic of this prevailing mood, giving the record a quality of clear, intimate, personal expression.
Track Listing: 1. Always Hope 2. Time After Time 3. Monk's Rec Room 4. Tell Me Your Diamonds 5. Jax Calypso 6. Chagall/How Deep Is Your Ocean 7. Five Full Fathoms 8. It's a Corrugated World 9. Climb Inside Her Eyes 10. Emergency 11. Einstein's Red/Blue Universe