All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

132

Francesca Tanksley: Journey

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Resemblances can sometimes cloak reality. It took me a while to get over the fact that Francesca Tanksley looks like my childhood piano teacher. (That sort of musical Freudianism can be hard, you have to understand.) It also took me a while to get over the way her music downright drips with the raw essence of McCoy Tyner. While there may not be much of a formal connection, Tyner lives in her block chords, her steaming delivery, and the way she interlocks melody and harmony.

Once I got over those two things, I began to hear Journey as it really is. Francesca Tanksley is a very serious pianist, as she makes clear from the very beginning on "Into The Light." While the piece might have a soaring theme and engage an elvish dexterity, there's no mistaking the fact that her trio does not take its music lightly. For what it's worth, that's a good thing. It takes the adventurous modern bop sound of Journey toward a higher energy state and emphasizes its connections with the '60s jazz continuum.

Tanksley takes a distinctively two-fisted approach to the piano. Either she plays a treble melody over dense, surging chordal accompaniment or she integrates that melody into the chords to form one single voice. She rarely breaks that rule on this record, except when the tempo drops on ballads. Stuttering trills, fluttering ripples, and titillating dips help keep linearity at bay. With all this flickering pulse and drama, the only real fair criticism lies in her timing, which is in some ways a personal thing. Tanksley doesn't swing much in any obvious sense, and when she does it tends to be heaped atop a pile of notes.

There's no sense in ignoring the contributions of bassist Clarence Seay and drummer Newman Taylor Baker, who make their voices amply heard on Journey. The fact that Tanksley totally respects her sideman's ability to carry the low end (manifested by her notable absence in the bass register of her own instrument) does say something. And Baker's talent at performing his mission undetected deserves note. But in the end this recording is all about Francesca Tanksley—and she's an earful already.

Visit DreamCaller on the web.


Track Listing: Into the Light; Dance in the Question; In Grace; Trickster; Simple Heart; Journey Without Distance; Earnestly, Tenderly; Prayer; Never Defeated.

Personnel: Francesca Tanksley: piano; Clarence Seay: bass; Newman Taylor Baker: drums.

Title: Journey | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: DreamCaller

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Journey

Journey

DreamCaller
2003

buy
Journey

Journey

DreamCaller
2002

buy

Related Articles

Read First Impressions CD/LP/Track Review
First Impressions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two CD/LP/Track Review
Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two
by Chris May
Published: February 25, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review
In Stride
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Osmosis CD/LP/Track Review
Osmosis
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest CD/LP/Track Review
Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 25, 2018
Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Short Notice" CD/LP/Track Review Short Notice
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Hudson" CD/LP/Track Review Hudson
by Doug Collette
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Big Man on Campus" CD/LP/Track Review Big Man on Campus
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Jazz Triangle 65-77" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Triangle 65-77
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Cultural Capital" CD/LP/Track Review Cultural Capital
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017