Pianist Kerry Politzer's relocation to Portland, Oregon seems to have given her music a boost. Always a fine mainstream artist, whether working the trio or quartet modes on Blue in Blue (Piloo Records, 2010) or Labyrinth (Palisonic Records, 2005), now her first Portland disc," Below the Surface, finds her in a common quintet setting--trumpet/saxophone and rhythm section--making uncommonly modern sounds. Politzer has crafted a sound that goes much more into the groove than her previous outings did. The tightly-woven compositions are meticulously arranged, and give space to superb soloing from trumpeter Thomas Barber and alto saxophonist David Valdez. ...read more
[ Editor's Note: The following interview is reprinted from George Colligan's blog, Jazztruth] Kerry Politzer is one of my favorite musicians, period. (Yeah, she's my wife, you gotta problem wit dat? No, I see the potential conflict of interest, but hey, it's all about who you know, right?) Seriously, Politzer is one of the most underrated musicians around. She has five amazing CDs to her name. She is a truly gifted jazz pianist and composer; however, a few years back, she whimsically decided to become a singer/songwriter, and within a few months had material for her ...read more
Two of the most enduring and popular ensemble set-ups in jazz are the piano trio--piano/bass/drums--and the piano trio, with a saxophone joining in. Pianist Kerry Politzer combines formats on Blue in Blue, with six tunes featuring her trio and four more with guest saxophonist Donny McCaslin.While You Took Me In (Polisonic Records, 2007) featured Politzer in a more pop-leaning mood, Blue in Blue finds her back in mainstream jazz land, sculpting a sound that mixes up piano influences from the likes of Bill Evans and Chick Corea, giving them, at times, the lightness and cool flow of Bossa ...read more
Meet Kerry Politzer: I started out as a classical pianist, went over to jazz and Brazilian music, and am now exploring the world of vocals and lyrics. I've released three jazz albums: Yearning, Watercolor and Labyrinth; and one jazz-pop album, You Took Me In.Labyrinth was a finalist in the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards, and its first track, Rhodes Rage," won Best Jazz Category, Third Prize in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition.Instrument(s): Piano, vocals.Teachers and/or influences? Most influential jazz teachers: Charlie Banacos and Bevan Manson. Brazilian music teacher: Vanderlei Pereira.Influences: Milton Nascimento, ...read more
Following her three releases as a jazz pianist who composes much of her material, Kerry Politzer steps out as a singer-songwriter with You Took Me In. As well as performing all the vocals, she plays piano with the band, which consists entirely of jazz musicians. Although the turn from jazz piano to pop-oriented song may seem surprising, Politzer has actually been active as a singer-songwriter for several years, and has received awards in songwriting competitions. On the songs that center on finding or seeking fulfillment in love, Politzer's voice is bright and sensuous, reminiscent of pop-jazz singer ...read more
Over the past few years, New England Conservatory graduate Kerry Politzer has emerged as one of the more interesting younger composers on the New York jazz scene. She leads a modern jazz trio and a Brazilian repertoire quartet to showcase her compositions. Labyrinth is her third release since 1999 and it draws from the best of those intersecting worlds: modern jazz with a Brazilian undercurrent. It's all original, often multi-layered material. Politzer is joined on this session by Andrew Rathbun on saxophones, Chris Higgins on bass, and her husband, George Colligan--better known as a pianist--on drums. Rhodes Rage ...read more
The press release accompanying pianist/composer Kerry Politzer's third album professes her love of Brazilian music and straight-ahead jazz. We certainly hear some good examples of her approach to samba, but most of this album is squarely in the category of well developed mainstream jazz in a trio and quartet setting. Politzer is joined by Andrew Rathbun, dividing his time on tenor and soprano sax on half of this album, plus bassist Chris Higgins and drummer George Colligan. (Colligan is perhaps better known as a well-recorded pianist with many albums under his own name.)
Beginning with the frenetic samba Rhodes Rage," ...read more
Pianist/composer Kerry Politzer's third CD as a leader, Labyrinth, is described as a set of Brazilian and jazz" originals. For this listener, the word Brazilian" evokes lilting rhythms and gentle melodies, but the disc's opener, Rhodes Rage," a fast samba, has more rage than gentleness. The tune proves itself a high-octane cooker, featuring Andrew Rathbun on tenor saxophone playing with some fiery swing. Politzer's solo--an extension of her sharp-edged opening--is an intricate, propulsive, percussive interlude, beautiful in an in-your-face fashion, backed by assertive rhythms from bassist Chris Higgins and drummer George Colligan.Paloma" goes in a gentler, subtler direction, ...read more
For her third outing as a leader, pianist/composer Kerry Politzer ups the ante by working with a couple of players who, while not exactly household names, have some cachet in the New York community. Chris Higgins, a lithe bassist with a tone not unlike Dave Holland's, may be as relatively unknown as Politzer, but saxophonist Andrew Rathburn has been establishing a reputation on a number of superb records for Spain's Fresh Sound New Talent label--both as a writer of cerebral yet evocative compositions and an assured player whose strong technique never gets in the way of musical statements.
But the ...read more
Quick and to the Point : Classy jazz trio music.
Watercolor features a happy coincidence between title and content. According to the Tallahassee Watercolor Society , the fleeting effects of nature" are best captured through watercolor's inherent luminosity" and capacity for rapid execution." The Jazzification of Classical aesthetics one finds in this oeuvre is conceived from conceptual and technical akin views and practices present in both the histories of jazz and watercolor, and well represented herein. A quick perusal of the composition titles will reveal an obvious connection to nature in the composer's mindful flow a la watercoloring. ...read more
Quick and to the Point: Deserving jazz with a Brazilian unction.
Yearning is appropriately entitled and represented through the hands and intellect of Kerry Politzer. A yen to get down and just play –that is what she seems to be all about. One cannot be misled by the maternally peaceful and tender countenance offered in the cover as visual representation of her craft. She is a fiery player, even when the flames are tamed by early musical astuteness.
Politzer and friends do not waste a second luring you into a charged “Twist of Samba” upon ...read more
A graduate of the New England Conservatory, Kerry Politizer has selected her own compositions for the play list for her debut album. Many of the tunes have a Brazilian bent to them which the quartet feels right at home with. The major players on this set with Politzer, are reed player Eric Rasmussen and strong guitarist, Pete Smith. It's clear that Politzer understands that it is sometimes better to get in and say what you have to say quickly and get out. While there are a couple of tracks which exceed five minutes, most are short avoiding repetition. Politzer's music ...read more
Her session of originals contains a lovely Brazilian tinge. From the modern mainstream, pianist Kerry Politzer exposes her trio to lively samba rhythms and saucier twists that tug this way and that. Percussive in nature, her keyboard mastery echoes the natural spirit that accompanies street festivals and other celebrations of life. To that formula, Politzer adds pieces, such as Aardvark," that fuse jazz's modern mainstream with international concepts. A strong classical music education and her jazz concentration at the New England Conservatory have left imprints. The title track soothes as a gentle waltz, featuring Politzer's wordless vocals in unison with ...read more
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