On her third release as a leader Bring Joy, lyrical pianist Jo Ann Daugherty showcases her uniquely fluid style on the ten enchanting interpretations that comprise the album. Overall, as the title suggests, a jubilant ambience prevails. This is not to say that the music is monotonously celebratory, on the contrary it is vibrant and quite multifaceted with various motifs subtly and intricately woven within it.
On pianist Abdullah Ibrahim's classic "Water From An Ancient Well" Daugherty takes a lilting solo that she fashions out of thick resonant chords and cascade of chiming notes. Her elegant and sinuous pianism percolates with understated virtuosity over her band mates' relaxed, swinging beats. The ensemble play maintains the original's folkish elements and emotive warmth.
Daugherty's own effervescent "Alive" features the leader creating sophisticated and exuberant phrases with deceptive facility. Drummer Ryan Bennett and percussionist Geraldo de Oliviera's rumble and bassist Lorin Cohen's reverberating strings built delightfully hypnotic and alluring refrains. Guitarist Neal Alger improvises with gusto and fiery tones as he takes his turn in the spotlight adding a passionate dimension to the charming composition.
Daugherty also penned the uplifting and gospellish "BJ's Tune." The rhythmic framework brims with bluesy flourishes. Daugherty lets loose complex spontaneous lines laced with melancholy over guitarist Felton Offard's muscular strums. Daugherty's imaginative approach to the keys and agility on them thrills and stimulates while remaining quite accessible.
Cohen's "Hope For Love" shimmies with a tango-esque sensuality. Daugherty embellishes the gorgeous melody with graceful ease. Cohen takes center stage with a yearning ardent soliloquy that evolves with a lithe suavity and supple finesse. Meanwhile on one of his other contributions, the cinematic and expansive "Unconditionally," he coaxes out of his instrument a darkly dulcet song. The tune also demonstrates the trio's seamless camaraderie as they overlap their individual voices for an exquisitely multilayered and harmonious performance.
With Bring Joy Daugherty has recorded a thematically cohesive work that is a testament to her immense talent and superb musicianship. It is intelligently constructed and reservedly sentimental, thus it should have a wide appeal. It is a bright spot in Daugherty's relatively short career and, hopefully, harbinger for a bright road ahead.
Water from an Ancient Well; The Way You Know Me; Unconditionally; The
Secret Life of Plants; Alive; Elsewhen; BJ's Tune; Hope for Love; Dolphin
Dance; The Wedding.
Jo Ann Daugherty: piano; Lorin Cohen: bass; Ryan Bennett: drums; Neal
Alger: guitar (4, 5); Geraldo de Oliviera: percussion (4); Felton Offard: guitar