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Shiri Zorn: Into Another Land

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Shiri Zorn: Into Another Land
Into Another Land braids together the voices of percussionist Mauricio Zottarelli, guitarist George Muscatello and vocalist Shiri Zorn into music that has a much heavier impact than its light and bright, floating and breezy sound.

Zorn studied music in her native Israel, steeping herself in the magic of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae, and then in London before moving to Albany, New York in 2010, where she met and has since been working with Muscatello. When Zorn's vocal producer Tierney Sutton introduced the pair to Brazilian percussionist Zottarelli, they expanded into a trio for this adventure Into Another Land. With Zottarelli weaving soft, tender percussion accents and colors around their intimate vocal and guitar dance, the results are often exquisite and beautiful.

On the opening "Witch Touch," one of two originals and this set's leadoff track, Zorn's voice rings out on pitch point, light but in no way thin or weak. There's so much space between these three voices that the arrangement sounds open and clean. It starts as a call and response, with each instrument answering her vocal, but twists into a more inventive passage where her wordless vocal pings around as a kind of melodic percussion, singing with the percussionist's rhythm but in notes from the melody. The other original, "I Wasn't Ready," unleashes the guitarist and percussionist in a long instrumental passage and tells its story with its title; Muscatello wrote this melody in 2014 but Zorn's lyrics didn't come along to complete it until 2021.

Two Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes add great beauty and depth. Zorn's soft, caressing sound draws all the breathless wonder out from "Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer)," especially in the closing verse sung in the lush, romantic tones of Portuguese. Zottarelli's percussion lights the rhythm with just enough of a hip-hop fuse to keep its dreamy sound moving along. Zorn's notes mention that "Zingaro (Retrato Em Branco E Preto)" was one of Chet Baker's favorite Jobim compositions, and her interpretation demonstrates why. She sings this one entirely in Portuguese and although Muscatello's guitar briefly appears in the middle, her pristine voice peals through its unaccompanied opening and closing verses as if echoing in worship throughout a cathedral of song.

This reinterpretation of the warhorse "How Deep Is the Ocean" is genuinely inventive jazz: Muscatello and Zottarelli create an open, expansive framework for the singer to explore, and Zorn's wordless introduction resounds with the sound of classic Brazilian vocalese as it bounces like rattling pots and pans off of the percussion, which keeps changing accents and colors to keep her vocal from singing lines the same way twice. "I fell in love with this song in my twenties, listening to Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman Orchestra," the singer further notes. That love affair more than endures, and greatly benefits this freely flowing journey Into Another Land.

Track Listing

Witch Touch; How Deep Is The Ocean; Zingaro (Retrato Em Branco E Preto); Beautiful Love; I Wasn't Ready; Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer); Willow Weep For Me; Detour Ahead.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Into Another Land | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Ia (independent Artists)


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