420

Maria Neckam: Deeper

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Maria Neckam: Deeper It's not often that a singer like Maria Neckam comes along. Blessed with a voice that she can set free as it flutters and streaks into stellar regions of music, Neckam is still able to keep it in control. She has a natural ability for heartbreaking emotion, in much the same way that Billie Holiday did. She sings flat, yet in her singing, quarter notes abound as she tells a story. Her voice soars making notes bend and flap as she soars high on wings like a dove. Neckam performs melodious compositions that are sometimes so twisted and beautiful that they devour the harmony all at once, much like a characteristic Hindustani raga.

It is precisely Neckam's knowledge that genres are manufactured that allows her to blur cultural borders so much that they cease to exist in her music. A fine example is "Fear." It is beautifully harmonic and melodious, and it's so rhythmically complex that it swerves closer to the characteristic 16-beat Hindustani rhythm pattern, teen taal, than to any recognizable Western music framework. However, framework is not something that Neckam deliberately inhabits as a stylistic mode. Her strength is inner rhythms and rhymes, with subtle shades of mood and emotion. This she projects exquisitely on "I Remember," a chart she wrote for voices, many of which she sings herself, although some are shared with singer Peter Eldridge.

Singing in voices may be nothing new; Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross, Singers Unlimited and groups like Take Six have excelled in this inventive vocal expedition. But what sets Neckam apart are her songs. They feature lyrics that dwell on the concrete and are, in charts like "Blown Away" and "Learn My Tongue," almost stream-of-consciousness. There is something of the James Joyce of Pomes Pennyeach (1927) in much of this album. Neckam adorns the poetry by traipsing across the vocal landscape, using her breath together with uncharacteristic intonation and phrasing, to create mighty and unforgettable whorls of songs.

It helps that Neckam is surrounded by a fine group of musicians. Pianist Aaron Goldberg and bassist Thomas Morgan are superb with solos that breathe almost vocally as they match the high-flying emotion of "Blown Away." Neckam is not far behind as she hits highs rarely heard since Urszula Dudziak with Michal Urbaniak or Flora Purim with Chick Corea. The vivid colors of "Missing You" are wonderful in quite another sense, as they conjure images of a microcosmic world inhabited by creatures that feel like humans do. "Learn My Tongue," an odd little title for a song to start with, soon makes eminent sense as Neckam launches into a bluesy groove that suggests a complete breakdown in a relationship that can only be resolved by a biological miracle. The harmonics that proceed as a result are a joy to listen to, proving that Neckam is a vocalist unafraid to go where mostly Sufi poets and musicians inhabit their devotional art.


Track Listing: Deeper; Indestructible Fort; Happy Song; When You're In Love; Fear; I Remember; Blown Away; Missing You; Learn My Tongue; Deeper (Full Version).

Personnel: Maria Neckam: voice; Aaron Goldberg: piano; Thomas Morgan: double bass; Colin Stranahan: drums; Lars Deitrich: alto saxophone (2, 3, 5, 8, 9); Samir Zarif: tenor saxophone (5, 8, 9); Peter Eldridge: voice (6).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Bailey's Bundles
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
Mark Murphy Mark Murphy
vocalist
Bennie Maupin Bennie Maupin
clarinet
Paul Motian Paul Motian
drums
Tony Bennett Tony Bennett
vocalist
Tierney Sutton Tierney Sutton
vocalist
Diane Hubka Diane Hubka
vocalist
Larry Goldings Larry Goldings
keyboard
Tessa Souter Tessa Souter
vocalist

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Live at PafA" CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!