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Various Artists: Home - Gift Of Music: Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief

Dan Bilawsky By

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Tragedy on a grand scale tends to attract philanthropic and righteous individuals looking to do the right thing and help in some way, but short memories and attention spans often plague these same generous souls. People are quick to open their hearts and wallets when the worst is in front of them, but time passes and people move on; the devastation, however, rarely ends with a swift resolution.

The triptych of horror—earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster—that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 is still a fresh wound for the Japanese people. While at-the-time donations helped many in need, countless others still require relief and Rio Sakairi is doing her part to help. Sakairi, the Director of Programming at The Jazz Gallery in New York, gathered many of her talented friends and put together a heartwarming collection of music to help raise some much-needed funds. Everybody from the artists involved to the recording studio crew to the PR people to the label generously donated their time and services to help Sakairi in her mission and the result is a heartwarming collection of songs that heals the soul and helps those in need; all proceeds from the sale of this album will be directed to Habitat For Humanity, Japan.

The majority of the music on Home was written on short notice, but these aren't throwaway tunes. In fact, several artists really hit compositional pay dirt on this project. Multi-reedist John Ellis makes a stunning debut as a vocalist ("Home"), delivering a winning Paul McCartney-meets-Rufus Wainright-styled performance that's heavy on the bittersweet beauty, while guitarist/vocalist Doug Wamble dabbles in slow, folkloric territory on his own poignant contribution ("Fear Not The Fall"). Sachal Vasandani's "Doves" starts off in contemplative serenity, but soars to greater emotional heights as it develops, Alan Hampton's "If It Was" features some peaceable vocals from Hampton and Gretchen Parlato, and Becca Stevens conjures thoughts of Moss interpreting Björk on her own overdub-enhanced "Coming Home." Stevens and Parlato serve as a vocal finishing school for some of this material, mixing their voices with other artists and helping to provide added luster to the finished product.

A spine-tingling, Nick Drake-like tenderness surrounds much of this material, which makes perfect sense considering the impetus behind its creation. Wispy beauty is everywhere on this disc and, while the running time is short, the emotional quality of the music more than makes up for it. Home is far more than an album; it's an artistic plea for help that reverberates deep into the ears and consciousness.

Track Listing: Gambare Nippon; If It Was; Coming Home; Home; Music Is The Magic; Tillery; Fear Not The Fall; Leaves Rebirth; Doves.

Personnel: Claudia Acuna: vocals (5); John Ellis: vocals (4); Alan Hampton: vocals, (2), guitar (2); Gretchen Parlato: vocals (2, 6, 8, 9), percussion; Becca Stevens: guitar, vocals (3, 4, 6, 9); Leron Thomas: vocals (8); Sachal Vasandani: vocals (9); Doug Wamble: guitar (7), vocals (7); Dayna Stephens: tenor saxophone; Taylor Eigsti: piano (2, 8, 9); Adam Rogers: guitar (5, 8, 9); Ryan Scott: guitar (4); Danton Boller: bass (4); Chris Tordini: bass, vocals (6); Ben Williams: bass (5, 8, 9); Jonathan Blake: drums (5, 8, 9); Bill Campbell: drums (4).

Title: Home - Gift Of Music: Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

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