4

Lena Bloch: Feathery

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Lena Bloch's Feathery is a cerebral album laced with a mature, tender passion. It is also a collaborative effort with her sidemen contributing to the creative process democratically while maintaining their individuality.

Drummer Billy Mintz's thunderous beats and crashing cymbals set an expectant and dramatic mood on Guitarist Dave Miller's solemn and ethereal "Rubato." Miller's haunting almost baroque explorations add a mystical touch while bassist Cameron Brown's bowed and reverberating strings maintain the western classical sensibility while meandering into freer realms. Bloch's tenor subtly balances an edgy atonality with a deep lyricism.

Eastern esthetics and poetry mark Bloch's own "Farewell to Arms." Her long, melancholic notes cascade darkly over Mintz's booming drums and Brown's deep reverberations. Miller's shimmering strums punctuate Bloch's intricate and introspective soliloquy. Brown's spiritual solo echoes like a prayer against the surrounding silence.

Bloch and Brown intelligently deconstruct Mintz's charming "Beautiful You" down to its melodic essence. Bloch's stimulating and provocative impromptu lines coalesce with those of her sidemen into a refreshingly innovative interpretation of the ballad.

Brown contributes the delightfully twisted lullaby "Baby Suite." His complex adlib phrases open the track and after an intense and elegiac period in the spotlight his bass tines bleed into fluttering pulsatile duet with Mintz. In front of this backdrop Bloch's agile and angular saxophone launches into a thrilling and multifaceted spontaneous monologue with boppish virtuosity. The piece also features Mintz's rich, harmonic percussion and Miller's slow simmering chords. Brown concludes his tune with a hypnotic nocturnesque aura.

Bloch's unconventional approach also results in a magical retelling of the standard "Star Eyes," retitled here "Starry-Eyed." Her heady, mesmerizing tone undulates in an enchanted and imaginative extemporization that is acutely melodic but spiced with the right amount of mordant dissonance.

With her first release Bloch emerges on to the music scene an accomplished and sophisticated improviser and composer. A superlative debut like this is a portent for a brilliant career and, hopefully, it means Bloch will continue to produce such intriguing and elegant works.

Track Listing: Hi-Lee; Rubato; Baby Suite; Starry-Eyed; Marshmallow; Farewell to Arms; Featherbed; Beautiful You; Hi-Lee (reprise).

Personnel: Lena Bloch: tenor saxophone; Dave Miller: guitar; Cameron Brown: bass; Billy Mintz: drums.

Title: Feathery | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Thirteenth Note Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Loving You: Celebrating Shirley Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Loving You: Celebrating Shirley Horn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Overseas V" CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "New Life" CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Beyond The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.