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Laurel Macdonald: Chroma

Jack Bowers By

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Hey, give me a break, please! I’m a JAZZ reviewer! I don’t know why labels and/or distributors bother to send me recordings like this. As far as I know, Laurel Macdonald may be tops in her field — trouble is, I don’t know what or where that field is. I can’t pretend to review music about which I know nothing. What I hear is a lot of sound and fury signifying, if not nothing, at least something that I’m unqualified to evaluate. I suppose this is what is called “new age” music. From what I hear, it wouldn’t be at all suitable even for “smooth Jazz” radio. There must be an audience for it, otherwise Macdonald and her companions wouldn’t be producing compact discs. Some of the background music, it appears, is synthesized, some acoustic. And at least two of the songs, “Oran na H–eala” and “Northsong,” sound as though they may have been derived from Native American sources, while another, “Trans–Chant,” could be of Middle Eastern origin or, again, Native American. Macdonald herself has the soft voice and ethereal delivery of a folk–singer, which I presume she is. For a Jazz analogy, if Roscoe Mitchell and the others from Chicago’s AACM movement were folk musicians they might sound something like this.

Track Listing:

A Wing and a Prayer; Agnus Dei; Lament of the Birds; Oran na H

Personnel:

Laurel Macdonald, voice, and a cast of thousands (all of whom are too well

Title: Chroma | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Wicklow


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