269

Gina Leishman: Postcards From the Highwire and In My Skin

Sean Patrick Fitzell By

Sign in to view read count








Kamikaze Ground Crew
Postcards From the Highwire
Busmeat Records
2007


Gina Leishman
In My Skin
GCQ Records
2007




Gina Leishman revels in eclecticism, cherishing the journey as much as the destination. She plays saxophones, piano and bass clarinet as well as atypical wares like accordion, ukulele and harmonic glass. Best known to jazz listeners as the co-leader of the perennial horns-and-drums ensemble Kamikaze Ground Crew, she's also worked in musical theater as a performer, musician and composer; a cabaret vocalist; a composer for television and film and a voice-over specialist. Typically, her two recent CDs are stylistically diverse.

Postcards From the Highwire is the fifth Kamikaze album and the second with the 'east coast" lineup: trombonist Art Baron, tubaist Marcus Rojas and drummer Kenny Wollesen joining longtime tenor saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, trumpeter Steven Bernstein and co-leading multi-instrumentalists Doug Wieselman and Leishman. The virtuosic ensemble builds episodic pieces drawing on jazz, rock and other influences while jettisoning the manic quirkiness of their earlier work.

After rollicking group passages and exchanged solos, Apfelbaum's "Shotgun Bouquet" untethers Rojas from the bass role, encouraging his sonic freestyle for a rousing finish. The fleet Dixie-swing of Bernstein's arrangement of Chu Berry's "Christopher Columbus" launches Apfelbaum and Baron's growling mute over the traditional form. Leishman's delicate piano leads over the dynamic terrain of her "Love-Go-Round," while she wields ukulele with spare accompaniment on "O Mistress Mine," her setting of Shakespeare to music and warm singing.

Kamikaze records have always featured a Leishman vocal, but only in recent years has she developed and documented her singer-songwriter material. In My Skin is the second installment of her songbook, the breezy tunes mostly written on and propelled by baritone ukulele within an unusual string quartet of guitar, violin and bass. Lyrically, songs like the title track, "The Scenic Route" and "Girl With a Curl" are bemused personal reflections on themes which one can relate to like finding identity. On the latter, violinist Charlie Burnham colors and reacts to the words with clever bowed and plucked retorts.

The languid ballad opening of "Food First" later quickens behind guitarist Matt Munisteri's loping bluesy runs and bassist Greg Cohen's emphatic thrum, his round tones a steady anchor. Leishman's incredulous commentary on our wars forms "Nightwind," boasting the unmistakable twang of guest guitarist Marc Ribot's prodding fills. Leishman charmingly unfurls her narratives, revealing another stop along her picturesque musical road.


Tracks and Personnel

Postcards From the Highwire

Tracks: CD1: Bells 1; S'albufera; Habanera 1; Shotgun Bouquet; Habanera 2; I'm a Steady Rollin' Man; Christopher Columbus; CD2: Bells 2; Love-Go-Round; Everybody's a Star; Travels-Window-Canvas; O Mistress Mine; Habanera 3.

Personnel: Doug Wieselman: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophone, guitar; Gina Leishman: alto and baritone saxophone, piano, accordion, ukulele, vocal; Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone; Steven Bernstein: trumpet and slide trumpet; Art Baron: trombone; Marcus Rojas: tuba; Kenny Wollesen: drums and percussion.

In My Skin

Tracks: Girl With a Curl; (Another) Foolish Heart; Food First; Le Chat; Nightwind; Green Water; Merry Month of May; Leaving; My Heart Belongs to Daddy; The Scenic Route; Here Today Gone Tomorrow; In My Skin.

Personnel: Gina Leishman: vocal, baritone ukulele, piano, glass; Charlie Burnham: violin; Matt Munisteri: guitar; Greg Cohen: bass; Marc Ribot: guitar (5,6); Todd Sickafoose: bass (11); Kenny Wollesen: percussion (7).v


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Cassette Plus Download Labels Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos" Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on Losen Records" Multiple Reviews Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Mysteries Of The Deep and Binary from Brian (Shankar) Adler" Multiple Reviews Mysteries Of The Deep and Binary from Brian (Shankar) Adler
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads" Multiple Reviews Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads
by John Eyles
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO" Multiple Reviews Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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