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Anthony Wonsey: Lorraine's Lullabye

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Anthony Wonsey: Lorraine's Lullabye
As it "takes a village" to raise a child, writes Anthony Wonsey, it also takes a village to raise a jazz pianist, and Lorraine's Lullabye is Wonsey's way of saying "thank you" to many of those who have helped and nurtured him throughout his journey including New York educator and social worker Lorraine Tiezzi, the album's namesake.

As we come into this world alone, cared for by our parents and others, so Wonsey begins the musical odyssey by himself, playing solo piano on a sumptuous version of "Sweet Lorraine" before gradually introducing his teammates: bassist Dmitri Kolesnik on "Giving Rise to Doubt," drummer Chris Beck on the ensuing track, trumpeter Antoine Drye, saxophonist Zet Harris and vocalist Milton Suggs toward the end of the session. The album is dedicated to the memory of Harris who played on the last three numbers but evidently died before the album was released.

After Wonsey's solo start, he and Kolesnik make it a duo on "Giving Rise," and the next five numbers are played (admirably) by the trio of Wonsey, Kolesnik and Beck before Drye and Harris make it a quintet on the assertive "Avo's Blooze" and boppish "Do You Remember Me" and Suggs adds his voice on the closing "Melancholy Mind," the last of five compositions by Wonsey. Kolesnik wrote "Giving Rise to Doubt" and "Little Mouse." Completing the handsome program are the venerable standards "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" and "It Might as Well Be Spring."

The arrival of Drye and Harris on "Avo's Blooze" offers quite an interesting twist, as it raises the impression of a brand new album, and is none the worse for it. Harris plays tenor on "Avo's Blooze" and "Do You Remember Me" (lovely intro by Wonsey), soprano on the more introspective "Melancholy Mind," while Drye's radiant trumpet (muted on "Melancholy Mind") is equally pleasing. Interweaving them earlier in the session would certainly not have been amiss. As for Wonsey, he has a nimble right hand but relies heavily at times on sturdy block chords to amplify his perspective. Nothing wrong with that. And not much wrong with Lorraine's Lullabye either, save for the fact that more of Drye and Harris likely would have added color and variety to what is essentially a trio session, as their inclusion on the last three numbers affirms.

It is, however, what it is, and as a showcase for Wonsey and his trio, which it is for the greater part of the time, Lorraine's Lullabye is clearly above the norm and well worth considering, even more so thanks to the alliance with Drye and Harris.

Track Listing

Sweet Lorraine; Giving Rise to Doubt; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; Little Mouse; Blues for Hiroshi; It Might as Well Be Spring; Blacker Black’s Revenge; Avo’s Blooze; Do You Remember Me; Melancholy Mind.

Personnel

Anthony Wonsey: piano; Antoine Drye: trumpet; Zet Harris: saxophone, tenor; Dmitri Kolesnik: bass, acoustic; Brandi Disterheft: bass, acoustic; Chris Beck: drums; Milton Suggs: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: Lorraine's Lullabye | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Cellar Records

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