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Amanda Gardier: Flyover Country

Dan McClenaghan By

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Amanda Gardier: Flyover Country
Saxophonist Amanda Gardier's sophomore recording, Flyover Country, opens with her original, "Midwestern Gothic," a tune which shifts between serene reveries and pronouncements so bold they could fit—switch out the acoustic rhythm section and the saxophone for some muscular, loud electric guitars—into an in-you-face heavy metal band. A fine way to open the show.

Gardier pares things down in comparison to her debut, Empathy (Green Mind Records, 2018), where she employed a larger ensemble. The quartet approach suits her, giving her plenty of opportunities to break loose on the opener and its successor, "Boss Lady," a brash, foot-to-the-floorboard tune, with Gardier's alto sax riding the waves of Brendan Keller-Tuberg's bouncing bass walk.

"Void" gives the band a chance to explore ballad territory, and for Gardier and pianist Ellie Pruneau to display some beautifully intricate interplay with each other and with Keller-Tuberg's assertive bass, buoyed by the subtle exhortations of drummer Carrington Clinton.

"Buddy" is a jaunty march—it makes a great dance tune—and "40 Tattoos" plays out as a pensive, dark-hued rumination, with Pruneau shining elegantly, then urgently, on her solo.

All the tunes here are Gardier originals. She writes a fine melody, and she and her band execute the music with finesse. The ebullient title tune features the leader on soprano, showcasing a clean and distinctive straight-horn tone, and the closer, "Sea Day," surges gently, wrapping things up on perhaps the loveliest of the album's compositions.

Track Listing

Midwestern Gothic; Boss Lady; Void; Buddy; 40 Tattoos; Hidden; Red-Headed Uncle; Flyover Country; Sea Day.

Personnel

Amanda Gardier: saxophone; Ellie Pruneau: piano; Brendan Keller-Tuberg: bass; Carrington Clinton: drums.

Album information

Title: Flyover Country | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Green Mind Records

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