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Ana Nelson: Bridges

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Ana Nelson: Bridges
Award winning multi-reed player Ana Nelson is a musical prodigy who, simultaneously, continues to evolve in her own artistry while mentoring others. On her delightful debut, Bridges, Nelson showcases her virtuosity as a performer and her inventiveness as a composer. Nelson blends her western classical education and jazz training in the seven engaging originals which feature a variety of guests, including a string quartet on two. One of these, "Blue Flower," opens with drummer Carter Pearson's rumbling beats setting an expectant mood. Nelson, on alto saxophone, states the wistful theme while the ensemble buoys it with their undulating cadence. Pianist Jamaal Baptiste takes center stage with his simmering chords and cascading keys. Nelson improvises with warmth and agility as the band's cinematic refrains envelop her intriguing embellishments. The string quartet adds enchantment to the collective sound.

The second, "Let the Light In," is an intimate chamber piece with Nelson fronting the quartet on her clarinet. The woodwind's muscular phrases bounce off the resonant strings of violinists Marina Alba López, Jodi Dunn, violist Alice Ford, and cellist Kevin Flynn. The playful repartee is bittersweet with a touch of melancholy. Overall, it is a subtle, lullaby-like, interlude before the boppish energy of the disc's closer.

The latter, "Fruit of the Groove," matches Nelson's cool alto with saxophonist Bill Nelson's brassy tenor. Baptiste demonstrates his characteristic sophistication and elegance before Nelson takes off on a short, blustery solo with bravado. Drummer Steve Houghton and bassist Jeremy Allen form a dynamic pair, driving the tune with thundering excitement.

Another tenor saxophonist, Garrett Fasig, shares the frontline with Nelson on "LCB." The undulating track unfurls slowly as Nelson, on alto, and bassist Brendan Keller-Tuberg perform the lyrical and captivating main motif. The tempo picks up as Perason and Baptiste join and the ambience takes on a tense and charming romanticism. Baptiste channels some baroque influences during his extemporization while Fasig provides a contrasting undercurrent to the leader's brilliant forays of spontaneity.

Nelson proves herself to be a promising, well-rounded, musician and a creative force with which to reckon. Hopefully, Bridges is an auspicious portent to a bright future.

Track Listing

Wanderlust; Waltz; LCB; Blue Flower; NelBap Choro; Let the Light In; Fruit of the Groove.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Bridges | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self Produced


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