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Lena Bloch

Label: Thirteenth Note Records
Released: 2014
Duration: 1:00:00
Views: 2,849


Hi-Lee; Rubato; Baby Suite; Starry-Eyed; Marshmallow; Farewell to Arms; Featherbed; Beautiful You; Hi-Lee (reprise).


Additional Personnel / Information

Lena Bloch: tenor saxophone; Dave Miller: guitar; Cameron Brown: bass; Billy Mintz: drums.

Album Description

Tenor saxophonist Lena Bloch is a likely "heir" to the throne of that still-thriving captain of cool, Lee Konitz. Not that she sounds just like him - not at all. But Bloch has absorbed the approach of Konitz and fellow traveler Ted Brown and the man that helmed likely the first totally 'free' session iconic pianist Lennie Tristano. Bloch has the cool, lithe, vibrato-less mode of Konitz down, but it's what she does with it that counts. Feathery is not any sort of throwback to the oft-maligned West Coast Sound of the 50's. If anything, Bloch has another 50's icon providing inspiration: Ornette Coleman. Like him, the feeling of the blues is infused in her playing along with a sense of dry angularity - her solos don't 'go' as some of the jaded of us might expect yet they are impeccably logical and always have that sense of forward impetus. The band of guitarist Dave Miller, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Billy Mintz is perfect for her. They give her compositions plenty of room - concise and free of clutter or extraneous notes, that's the ticket - and play well as a unit. Brown is spare and soulful, Mintz is crisp and Miller's guitar has a peculiar crackle to it, a spare way of playing that lets the strings truly resonate, almost making a listener feel inches from the guitar. He doesn't so much accompany Bloch as is a voice alongside hers. While most of this platter is somewhat pensive and ruminative in mood, "Featherbed" is a welcome break, providing (for those needing it) that Bloch can roar straight-up bebop with the best of them, the band whipping up a merry storm behind her. While it is a cliche to end reviews this way, it fits: Bloch is a talent to watch, building upon the innovations of Konitz, Brown and Tristano in a singular manner. ——— Mark Keresman, New York City Jazz Record


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