300

Jessica Lurie: Shop of Wild Dreams & Laws of Motion

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Jessica Lurie Ensemble
Shop of Wild Dreams
Zipa!/Spoot Music
2008


The Tiptons Sax Quartet
Laws of Motion
Zipa!/Spoot Music
2008


Jessica Lurie came to many people's attention through the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, an energetic group from Seattle named for the circa '50s saxophonist better known for living and passing as a man than for her music. Their first release Saxhouse, (1993, Knitting Factory Records) seemed radical not just for the group's name but for being an all-female horn band, something still rare to see 16 years later.

Lurie and Amy Denio, the two principles of the quartet, have kept the band going (with some changes in membership) fairly steadily, while taking on an impressive variety of projects outside the band. Lurie has pushed herself as an improvising instrumentalist as well as blurring the lines between her jazz and pop interests. And on Shop of Wild Dreams she presents a wide variety of musical ideas while managing to create a seamless hour of listening.

Lurie herself plays saxophones, flute, accordion, ukulele and sings on the album, already suggesting a diversity of intentions. And her quintet moves easily through cinematic jazz, gypsy inflection, vocal songs and the occasional light instrumental. Particularly effective is Brandon Seabrook, whose guitar and banjo can fit quietly into the background only to turn to surprising drive. The rhythm section (Erik Deutsch on piano and keyboards, Todd Sickafoose on bass and Allison Miller on drums) proves to be effective and flexible, but it is Lurie in the foreground most of the time. (Tipton saxophonist Tina Richerson and former Tipton drummer Elizabeth Pupo-Walker also make appearances.)

But despite a strong band, more impressive is the way Lurie as bandleader crafts the whole. Her songs, in other hands, could come off as something between Sarah Brightman and Joni Mitchell jazz, but interspersed across the disc and with her warm voice and intelligent lyrics, they gain a bit more weight.

The group now known simply as "The Tiptons Sax Quartet," however, is a bit of a grittier affair. Interestingly, two of the tunes from Wild Dreams (the title track and "Number Six") appear here as well, allowing an opportunity to see the differing approaches of the two bands. Certainly four saxophones plus drums (the Tiptons have always employed a percussionist) is more rugged than the lush expanses of piano and bass, but the Tiptons trade in texture. They've always been smart arrangers and the energy of Laws of Motion might appeal to more jazz fans.

As a vocalist, Lurie pushes herself harder on the Tipton's version of "Wild Dreams" than she does anywhere on her quintet's group, as if her longtime band mate's presence is pushing her. Denio has a rich career in jazz, song and improv; Asian and European folk musics have been touchstones for her arrangements of traditional Gypsy and Taiwanese songs, as well as a piece by the Italian vocalist Gabriella Schiavone and to the richness of the always-satisfying Tiptons' latest effort.


Tracks and Personnel

Shop of Wild Dreams

Tracks: Number Six; I Don't Care If I Don't Care; The Usual Things; Grey Ocean; Grinch; Shop of Wild Dreams; Pinjur; Circus Rain; Flying Man; Anthem.

Personnel: Jessica Lurie: alto and tenor sax, flute, accordion, baritone ukulele, voice; Eric Deutsch: piano, electric keyboard, Rhodes; Brandon Seabrook: guitar, banjo, tape recorder; Todd Sickafoose: acoustic bass; Allison Miller: drums; Elizabeth Pupo-Walker: percussion; Tina Richerson: baritone sax.

Laws of Motion

Tracks: Fallout; Raisa; Sind; Number Six; Yugo a Go Go; The Shop of WIld Dreams; Jumpstop; Anthem; Laws of Motion; Marjan; Mi Yo Mei.

Personnel: Amy Denio: alto sax, clarinet, voice; Jessica Lurie: alto & tenor sax, voice; Sue Orfield: tenor sax, voice; Tina Richerson: baritone sax, voice; Chris Stromquist: drums and percussion.


Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
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
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "The Unity Sessions / Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" Multiple Reviews The Unity Sessions / Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready" Multiple Reviews Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Five By Five - More Love From Ivo Perelman" Multiple Reviews Five By Five - More Love From Ivo Perelman
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Rich Robinson: Solo Reissues" Multiple Reviews Rich Robinson: Solo Reissues
by Doug Collette
Published: April 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!