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Paying the proverbial musical dues is part and parcel of a musician's evolution, and an unavoidable experience that can be as trying as it can be rewarding. The common jazz lore takes for granted that doing so in New York puts a musician in an altogether singular phylum in the jazz evolutionary tree. Pianist/composer Shimrit Shoshan has, since 2004, been voraciously vitaminizing her learned background in that famed city with academic studies, mentors and gigs. Enter Keep It Movin' the first mutation in her jazzy evolution.
Shoshan's success as a New York jazz transplant is apparent in her lithe writing and performances. "Shwingin'" is classic mainstream, in the pocket and cleverly under-nuanced. "Skippy," a Thelonious Monk piece, has her channeling the legendary pianist as if he had learned proper piano technique, in a delightful duo performance with drummer Eric McPherson. Shoshan clearly knows Monk, and McPherson does, too. "Under the Influence" features a head figure, with bassist Luques Curtis plucking briskly. Shoshan lays actively back, with McPherson present, yet wisely absent in a minor showcase of the pianist's variegated influences. She can pack a lot of culture in her playing without deep-throating, preceding bassist John Hébert's cool solo with some serious playfulness, followed by melodicism that resembles a beautifully delicate, yet strong wild orchid. McPherson, as usual, manages to be very much there as a coming and going mirage. Abraham Burton does very well on the two opening tracks, where Shoshan's writing seems to have been tailored made for the saxophonist.
All in all, Shoshan shows quite a bit of potential for great things to come, proving capable of keeping up with the fierce and always hyper-talented pack of jazz pianists. She is packed with mainstream ideas that clamor for channels of expression. Youthfully mature and strong, all Shoshan really needs is to gain and keep an audience. For that, dues must be paid forever.
Track Listing: Shimmy n' You; Chamsa; Secret Identity; Keep It Movin'; Shwingin'; With The Birds; Skippy; Under the Influence.
Personnel: Shimrit Shoshan: piano; Eric McPherson: drums; Abraham Burton: saxophone; John Hébert: bass (3, 4, 6); Luques Curtis: bass (1, 2, 5, 8).
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.