165

Rachel Z: Dept. of Good And Evil

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Brooklyn-based pianist Rachel Z has won her fame for thinking outside the box when playing jazz, often looking for material outside the genre's realm to make her music. On previous discs, she has transformed the music of Kurt Cobain, U2 and Kate Bush.

On this new release, she includes, among a handful of originals, personal readings of tunes by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sting and Bill Withers, alongside material by Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson with very positive results. Listeners unfamiliar with the rock tunes presented here would never know that the originals featured electric guitars and (in some cases) screaming vocals.

On the original version of "Maps, vocalist Karen O sings the chorus with a certain jaded feel backed by a cacophony of guitars and drums; Rachel Z translates this into the piano, turning the song into a jazz-inflected pop tune. Legendary bassist Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) and trumpeter Erik Naslund join Z's trio for Sting's "King of Pain, where Naslund freely improvises and Levin plays on his twelve-string Chapman Stick, filling in with odd high octave notes as Maeve Royce plays a more conventional bass line.

One of the key tracks on the disc is "Moon and The Sun, an original penned by Z and drummer Bobbie Rae, that features rare vocals by the pianist, delivered with plenty of feeling.

The closing song is the poignant original, "Saint Of New Orleans. The tune almost has a prog-rock feel at times and this is where the pianist really cuts loose, playing with amazing speed during a few moments and then shifting to a softer mode. It is one of the greatest moments of a disc that deserves repeated hearings, for every spin brings fresh discoveries to the listener's ears.

Track Listing

Soul Meets Body; Milky Way; King of Pain; Lakme; Inner Urge; Moon and Sun; Maps; Love Will Tear Us Apart; ESP; Walking on Water; Ain't No Sunshine; Saint of New Orleans.

Personnel

Rachel Z: piano, vocals; Maeve Royce: bass; Bobbie Rae: drums, percussion, vocals. Guests: Tony Levin: electric bass; Erik Naslund: trumpet.

Album information

Title: Dept. of Good And Evil | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Savoy Jazz

Post a comment about this album

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

More

Another Land
Dave Holland
Native Sons
Los Lobos
Naurora
Dewa Budjana
The Last Call
Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine
Palette of Feelings
Karolis Šarkus
A Centering Peace
Brian Woodruff Sextet
Five Down Blues
Kyle Asche Organ trio

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.