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Jillian Lebeck’s debut reflects a very mature aesthetic sense, laced with the seduction of serenity. Lebeck wisely chose her bandmates and cast each musical role to fit a strongly humane piano and voice persona. Gentility reigns on Living in Pieces , almost to a fault.
The record begins cautiously with an original and a reprise of Carey and Fischer’s “You’ve Changed.” Lebeck and rhythm section set a mood that is immediately augmented with trumpet player Brad Turner’s introduction to “For Chris, On A Sunday,” a gorgeous eight-minute instrumental that teaches us the true embrace of tranquillity. Here, the musical power of reminiscence works like a great conversation that cannot be marked by time. A third of the way through, one hopes that Living in Pieces will not swing into bopping gear. What is “missing” here may be exactly the strength of this music: lack of pretence. It's the aural equivalent of a raindrop sliding happily down a branch in the aftermath of a warm spring rain. Delicious.
Changes in this kind of musical environment are often jarring. Lebeck is savvy enough to have paced the songs to strengthen the delicate mood through some interesting, if not entirely successful changes. Drummer Paul Townsend does not move into a discernible time signature until halfway through the record, on Lebeck’s reprisal of Ani Difranco’s ”Everest.” Bassist André Lachance is briefly featured in “Today,” while the whole group embarks on “The Unexpected” to close the show—a type of awakening that reminds us that we have been seduced. Therein lies the drawback; emerging from such splendour can leave one emotionally thirsty.
Jillian Lebeck is likely a more diverse musician than her role here, which is marked by the placement of chords for harmonic structure. As her songwriting diversifies, this will undoubtedly change. Living in Pieces is a gentle and humane debut, leaving plenty of room open for aggression in the future should she choose that path.
In the meantime, Jillian Lebeck lives in a peace of mind. We can visit, but if only we could reside there...
For sound samples, more information and to buy Living in Pieces , visit Jillian Lebeck
Track Listing: Longing for Longing; You've Changed; For Chris, On a Sunday; Missing; Everest; Today; Then, Now; Sally Ann; The Unexpected.