Commissioned by the Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation and Presentation Program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Jane Ira Bloom interprets six Jackson Pollock canvases with her quartet. The visual motion, depicted by the artist through unconventional means, translates easily to the light, bouncy manner in which the soprano saxophonist performs. This suite debuted a year ago at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and was recorded in a studio shortly thereafter. When Bloom stands before an audience, the column of air that supports her buttery tone is projected right and left with a swooshing motion. Hence, the distinctive relationship to Pollock’s work. Three of his paintings are represented at janeirabloom.com .
Fred Hersch, Mark Dresser and Bobby Previte alternate lush, dreamy landscapes and a swinging, straight-ahead jazz foundation in support of the saxophonist’s adventures. Her passionate interpretation provides insight into the goals Pollock had in mind when he created these works of art. The quartet’s emphasis remains focused on the theme of motion in art; hence, their program of chamber jazz eschews the tradition in favor of dreamier sequences. The live electronics employed by the saxophonist apply to the motion of her column of air, and serve as an extension of her trademark right & left lobs. With her live microphone controls, the saxophone’s tone is tossed this way and that. At times it’s split harmonically or altered. It’s as if Jackson Pollock were directing the notes that fly from her horn.
Track Listing: Unexpected Light; Chasing Paint; The Sweetest Sounds; On Seeing JP; Many Wonders; Jackson
Pollock; Alchemy; Reflections of the Big Dipper; White Light.
Personnel: Jane Ira Bloom- soprano saxophone, live electronics; Fred Hersch- piano; Mark Dresser- bass;
Bobby Previte- drums.
I love jazz because...it's in my blood! My late father, Billy Ainsworth, was a musical prodigy who dropped out of school at 17 after he stunned the seasoned musicians of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with an in-off-the-street audition
I love jazz because...it's in my blood! My late father, Billy Ainsworth, was a musical prodigy who dropped out of school at 17 after he stunned the seasoned musicians of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with an in-off-the-street audition. He was on the band bus the next day as Dorsey's alto sax and clarinet player, and never looked back. He played with great bandleaders such as Freddie Martin, Tex Beneke and Ray McKinley, some before he was out of his teens (they had to lie about his age to get him into nightclubs). Many older musicians have told me he was the greatest alto sax player they ever worked with. He was equally great on clarinet and was clarinetist and harmony singer for cocktail jazz pioneers, the Ernie Felice Quartet.
He eventually left the road and settled down, and that's when I came in. By that time, he was, by day, vocal group session leader/player/arranger for classic jingles and commercial music produced in Dallas. At night, he played in society bands, jazz combos and elegant showrooms. Tuesdays were slow in the showrooms, so band members' families got in free, and my mom took me to see him backing such legends as Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Steve and Eydie, and a very old Ella Fitzgerald. Between that, hearing his record collection, growing up around the legendary musicians and singers who were like aunts and uncles to me, and just listening to him practice around the house, filling the neighborhood with incredible jazz sax riffs, I couldn't help becoming that weird kid who was listening to Peggy Lee, Ella and Manhattan Transfer when my classmates were listening to rock, country and soul.
Even though he died before I ever sang professionally, he remains my inspiration and all my CDs are dedicated to him. I like to think that he'd like my music, since it's built on the foundation he handed down to me.