How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Members of the Boston area Lisa Thorson Five have been friends for eleven years; the group’s firm cohesiveness is a direct result. A student of Sheila Jordan, the singer/leader presents modern mainstream vocal art with obvious nods to Erik Satie and Thelonious Monk. Each artist solos and everybody works together on the thrilling arrangements. Spontaneity and surprise show up in the arranged phrases as well as the improvised work.
Thorson’s flexible voice fills several roles: scat singer, quasi-horn player, lyrical balladeer, and rhythmic chanter. While scat singing "I Mean You" around Cercie Miller’s alto saxophone solo and Bill Evans’ "Five" around solos from piano, bass and drums, Thorson stretches from a unison with piano to lyrical lead melodies. "But Not For Me" is a vocal/drums duet with an interesting shuffle rhythm. Thorson employs her voice as an instrument on Schuller’s "Punta d’Blues," creating a little dissonance from time to time with extreme care not to overdo it. Again, with voice as an instrument on "Mood Indigo," Thorson works as a duo with tenor saxophone before launching into the lyrics of the favorite tune. Modal ballads "Wondering Why?" and "Resonance" demonstrate the singer’s sincere expression. With a loose bass drumhead adding authenticity, Schuller begins "Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend." It’s a chant containing wordless vocal lines that resemble utterances from ancient tongues and cultures. Thorson’s multi-tracked three-part vocal harmony frames her lovely composition as if she had created bookends. If you enjoy creative scat singing and have a respect for vocal art, then this one will rank high on your star chart. Highly Recommended.
Track Listing: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; Resonance; I Mean You; The Nearness of You; But Not For Me; Mood Indigo; Five; Wondering Why?; Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend; Punta d
Personnel: Lisa Thorson- vocals; Tim Ray- piano; Cercie Miller- alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Dave Clark- acoustic bass; George Schuller- drums.