Recently one of the sports channels delivered a segment about a deep sea diver who plummets into and ascends from ocean depths unaided by air tanks. He does it all on his own breath. In that documentary, the diver speaks about the peak life experience he encounters with each daredevil dive. The metaphors of adventure, heightened experience and certainly depth and breath, of course--are quite apropos applied to Madeline Eastman as A Quiet Thing is a terrific recording and an aural experience.Long considered one of the finest vocal stylists on the jazz scene, A Quiet Thing is Eastman's ...read more
When Bay Area vocalist Madeline Eastman released Bare: A Collection Of Ballads (Mad-Kat, 2001), it was a bit of a departure from her previous recorded work. By that point, she was a decade into a critically acclaimed recording career and she had established herself as an adventurous, risk-taking, creative artist with albums like Point Of Departure (Madkat, 1990), featuring trumpeter Tom Harrell, and Mad About Madeline! (Madkat, 1991), with pianist Cedar Walton, saxophonist Phil Woods and guest vocalist Mark Murphy. Some might have viewed her sudden, quiet-and-introspective turn as something new, but for Eastman, it was actually a return to ...read more
The beauty of vocalist Madeline Eastman is that she is an undaunted improviser who remains conservative in her improvising. In this context, the word conservative harbors no negative connotations. Eastman has an abiding respect for the melody that is reflected in her thoughtful interpretations of the fourteen ballads making up A Quiet Thing. The piano-voice format also reflects this careful conservative approach to the material. The repertoire for this recording is what is truly provocative. Reading the subtitle, A Collection of Ballads, brings to mind any number of assemblies of tired standards belonging in writer Scott Yanow's ...read more
My suggestion for the cover of jazz vocalist Madeline Eastman's next album is a shot of her poised to dive into an uncharted body of water. This is one lady who is not afraid to take chances with existing material and even from note to note. The San Francisco singer has recorded five albums for her own Mad-Kat label—and although I haven't heard all of them, I would venture an opinion that she hasn't lost a step since 1990.
These twelve songs include six from Richard Rodgers (with Hart and Hammerstein). The unusual choices are an old Donny ...read more
Have you ever been in a club, or sat listening to a live recording, when a tenor saxophonist blows a solo in the middle of a standard, and it stays pretty much faithful to the theme for a bit, then stretches out into some unexpected – beautifully so – variations of theme, while still hanging onto it? A small, gorgeous musical surprise that makes someone in the audience moan: Oh!" And a beat latter he sighs: yeah..."
I found myself doing this with Madeline Eastman's The Speed of Life, at least a couple of times per tune. ...read more