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This reissue of All Out, Jay Clayton's 1980 debut, is a well-done exercise in the voice as instrument. Clayton occupies her own niche, exploring a freestyle, improvisational approach to vocals. She collaborates with Jane Ira Bloom (soprano and alto sax), Larry Karush (piano), Harvie S (bass), Frank Clayton (drums) and Bill Buchen (kalimba), as well as vocalists Shelley Hirsch, Becca Armstrong and Sally Swisher.
The first track, "Badadadat, written by Karush, is a playful dialogue between Clayton and Bloom which continues into "Random Mondays, an almost bluesy affair which features Clayton's voice and Bloom's sax trading over a bass figure. Ornette's "Lonely Woman, the only piece with words, provides an interesting contrast with its voice/drums duet.
Another contrast comes with "7/8 Thing," a Clayton original with a Far East feel enhanced by the addition of three voices, water drum and kalimba; Harvie S also provides solo bass work. "Fragments is exactly that: a collection of short statements by Clayton and the group. The fast-paced closer, "All Out, was written for Clayton by Heiner Stadler and allows her to interact fully with the other instruments.
Jay Clayton has a wide vocal range and is able to express herself well with her improvisational style. She is also able to work with other instruments in a cohesive group effort to create something unusual and interesting. This record is not for everyone, but if you're curious about what the voice can do, then have a listen.