7

Tina Raymond: Left Right Left

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Tina Raymond: Left Right Left
Most jazz artists don't choose to create a concept album as their debut. But drummer Tina Raymond has done just that with Left Right Left, teaming up with pianist Art Lande and bassist Putter Smith for a wide-ranging piano trio outing that explores America's political climate via a mix of patriotic songs, a pair of Woody Guthrie tunes, a Joni Mitchell cover, a pair of outstanding Putter Smith originals, and Joan Baez's gorgeous "Saigon Bride."

Lande and Smith are jazz veterans who have the ability to ride inside or outside. Lande teamed with avant-garde reedman Gebhard Ullmann on Die Blaue Nixe (Between The Lines, 2006). Smith joined the poet drummer Billy Mintz on his Mintz Quartet (Thirteenth Note Records, 2013). These are two recordings that resist labels. The same is true of the sound of Left Right Left. Where Woody Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty" gets an injection of jazz sophistication and perhaps an Eastern (Japanese folk music?) tint; the ever familiar "Battle Hymn Of the Republic" begins straight ahead before veering into dissonance and discord; and "America" ("America The Beautiful") has a jauntiness that Lande rolls into an ebullient improvisation.

The compositional voice of Woody Guthrie gets an ethereal, floating treatment, with "Union Maid," vying with Joni Mitchell's "Fiddle And the Drum" and Joan Baez's "Saigon Bride" for the most beautiful tunes on the set. The Mitchell tune sounds like a spontaneous composition—loose and fluid, grey and gloomy in mood, showcasing Raymond's percussive poetics. Bassist/composer Smith's "Xxmas In Baghdad" is a study in spare, egalitarian trio interplay.

Left Right Left is, in it's way, a nod to the progressive movement, the left side of politics. It could accurately be called "The American Suite," with it's mood of somehow enchanting discontent, and its reinterpretations of the beauty of these tunes—a voice against the malevolence and mendacity that have way of surfacing and making loud splashing sounds in the roiling of country's storm-tossed political seas. Sometimes that's the voice that the artists have to use.

Personnel

Tina Raymond: drums.

Album information

Title: Left Right Left | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Orenda Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Speak Low II
Speak Low II
Lucia Cadotsch
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Steve Masakowski and the Masakowski Family

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.