Renee Rosnes: Art & Soul

Jim Santella By

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The art of creating quality jazz with a mainstream piano trio is in good hands with Renee Rosnes at the helm. With the year 2000 AD rapidly approaching, the pianist’s session serves as a fond look back at the way modern jazz has developed over the past fifty years. Crisp bop lines commingle with Ornette Coleman’s quirky jumps, while the blues, the Beatles, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Frank Sinatra urge their melodies right into our hearts. World music and the future of jazz enter into the picture with a little help from guests Dianne Reeves and Richard Bona. Rosnes joined Out Of The Blue in the late ‘80s and learned the ropes from respected jazz leaders. Art & Soul is her 6th release as a leader.

The pianist’s appreciation for lyrical ballads is represented through Gordon Jenkins’ "Goodbye," Egberto Gismonti’s dreamy "Sanfona," Duke Ellington’s "Fleurette Africaine" and the lovely "Lazy Afternoon." For the latter, Dianne Reeves sings in her unique manner, sometimes offering lyrics and sometimes adding wordless vocals that bare her soul. From lush ballads to a hurried and exciting scene, Reeves uses a vocalese tactic to sing Wayne Shorter’s classic "Footprints." While the lyric’s message is washed away by the arrangement’s rhythmic motion, more instrumental features reveal that Reeves and Rosnes share a simpatico view of the piece. The leader’s dedication to pianist Steve Kuhn plays harmonic tricks on an exciting "Romp," during which each member of the trio takes an extended solo. Derived from the Charlie Parker school of modern jazz and bridging some fifty years of development, Rosnes’ recommended album lives up to its title.

Track Listing: Blues Connotation; With a Little Help from my Friends; Goodbye; Ancient Footprints; Fleurette Africaine; Romp; Lazy Afternoon; Little Spirit; Sanfona; Children

Personnel: Renee Rosnes- piano; Scott Colley- double bass; Billy Drummond- drums; Dianne Reeves- vocals on "Ancient Footprints" and "Lazy Afternoon;" Richard Bona- percussion on "Ancient Footprints" and "Fleurette Africaine."

Title: Art & Soul | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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