Kristiana Roemer is a young German singer whose voice has a lilt and plush texture reminiscent of Annette Peacock. On this, her first album, she uses her intriguing sound in the service of both conventional jazz tunes and floating, airy pieces which border on art songs. Most of the material here is her own writing, though some lyrics derive from others' poetry. In addition, she proves her jazz bona fides by including familiar tunes by Stanley Turrentine and Charles Mingus.
The suppleness of Roemer's jazz singing shows in her easy gliding on "Virgin Soil" and dreamy swoon on "Lullaby For N." Addison Frei' plays rich piano on both tracks. Dayna Stephens' gushing tenor sax highlights the former and Ben Monder adds chiming guitar to the latter. She also does right by the two non-originals, sounding sassy and seductive on Turrentine's "Sugar" and bringing a deep yearning feel to Mingus' "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love."
The other pieces are where Roemer's writing and voice stretch out. She sails over groaning bass and piano and jittery percussion on "Beauty Is A Wound," and sings simply and endearingly on "House Of Mirrors" over Frei's tinkling piano and Gilad Hekselman's bent guitar notes. On "Manchmal," taken from a Herman Hesse poem, she delicately sings in German as Frei and Monder quietly murmur under her. The guitarist is also a presence on "Dark Night of the Soul," accenting the surging piano repetitions which back Roemer's melodic flow. Drummer Adam Arruda and bassist Alexander Claffy are strong throughout the CD but their work here is really exceptional as they keep the song's tense pulse going.
Kristiana Roemer's voice has a combination of softness and firmness which conveys both strength and sensitivity. Her songs have a haunting, wistful feel which perfectly matches her sound. Her band here is fine at being either ethereal or swinging as the songs dictate . This is an excellent debut for her.
House of Mirrors; Beauty is a Wound; Virgin Soil; Deine Hände;
Dark Night Of The Soul; Manchmal; Lullaby For N.; Sugar; Duke
Ellington's Sound of Love.