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.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.