. A major trend in classical music recording and performance centered on words like “period” and “historically informed”. The phrase “Period Performance” has several definitions: using authentic instruments and tunings from the period the composition being played was composed. Another would be using modern instruments built in the form of the authentic instruments of the period, or a strict adherence to the metronomic and other instructions of the composer. This latter definition bleeds into the concept of Historically-Informed” performance. This performance concept is based on, in addition to adherence to the composer’s desires, using the conducting and performance practices of the period and often recording in the same venue that the original performance took place.
In the realm of jazz, vocalist Terri Alden, with the support of the Warren Vaché’s quartet, effects a historically informed performance of an inventive collection of standards, evoking the musical sounds of the 1920s and ‘30s. the major vehicles for achieving this sound is Vaché’s bright coronet playing and Howard Alden’s (Ms. Alden’s band mate and husband) chording guitar style. Jackie Williams’ abbreviated drumming and Michael Moore’s gently walking bass complete this period sound.
Juxtaposition. In the 18th Century, there existed two polar schools of thought. One was of Richard Wagner and the Second of Johannes Brahms. The former was forging the “Music of the Future” and the latter was the “Keeper of the Flame” (in the words of Harold C. Schoenberg). So goes Cassandra Wilson and Terri Alden. The former is blazing new trails in jazz vocals while the latter is keeping careful watch over all that has come before. While Ms. Wilson’s music has the pioneer spirit and the light of the moment supporting her vision, Ms. Alden’s music has the history of past performance to justify it. One is no better than the other: they are both gratefully part of the beautiful fabric we call “Jazz”.
Standards. There is something here for everyone. “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” is highlighted by Ms. Alden’s spry vocals, Vaché’s coronet and Howard Alden’s guitar. “Makin’ Whoopee” is an incredible duet between Ms. Alden and bassist Michael Moore. “The Very Thought of You” and “Am I Blue” and brought off with panache and style.
Finally.... Terri Alden’s no nonsense vocals coupled with Warren Vaché’s exceptional accompinment make Voice with Heart a very enjoyable listening experience. Nagel-Heyer’s crystal clear engineering affords a sonically superior recording, adding to the overall listening pleasure. This critic looks forward to more Terri Alden releases.