Mara Rosenbloom Quartet: Songs from the Ground (2013)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Pianist Mara Rosenbloom frames her second album on personal recollections encapsulating childhood, family matters, and challenging situations. Therefore, the idealization for this outing is not merely steeped within an austere band approach. Taken from this perspective, her musicality embeds or perhaps synchronizes a form of melodic goodness with a traumatic periphery.
Rosenbloom's brand of modern jazz is not all about rummaging through difficult time signatures or complex geometrical theme-building episodes. It's more focused on the construction of sustainable themes, underscored with distinct melody lines in unison with a hearty improvisational component. For example, she lays out a circular but somewhat weighty rhythmic countenance with hefty block chords and a concisely stated hook on "Whistle Stop," where alto saxophonist Darius Jones' vibrato induced phrasings take on vocal characteristics. Here, the pumping groove is reworked via bassist Sean Conly's solo spot, as he injects a calming effect into the big picture. Consequently, the pianist turns in a roots-oriented four-bar jazz-blues motif on the extended piece, "Common Language." Essentially, they go for the gusto within a primordial, no-nonsense blues vamp and alternate the pitch amid the frontline's emphatic choruses, shadowed with spiritual enlightenment.
Many of these works offer climactic events, alternating between a relaxed vibe and impassioned crescendos, but Rosenbloom's two brief solo pieces, "Relief (solo piano improvisation)" and "Song from the Ground," cast notions of solitude and introspection, amplifying the musical biopic that seeds the production. Nonetheless, Rosenbloom's quartet renders a multilateral viewpoint due to the contemplative qualities of these pieces, striking a balance that highlights the musicians' synergy and sympathetic adherence to the underlying nature of the program. Add the respective instrumentalists compelling dialogues into the equation and you have the recipe for success.
Track Listing: Relief; Whistle Stop; Small Finds; Unison; Common Language; To Be Alone; Songs from the Ground.
Personnel: Mara Rosenbloom: piano; Darius Jones: alto saxophone; Sean Conly: bass; Nick Anderson: drums.
Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
Style: Modern Jazz