357

Judith Berkson: Lu-Lu

By

Sign in to view read count
Judith Berkson: Lu-Lu The resonant voice of Judith Berkson has been ubiquitous in the Brooklyn creative music for years. The inquisitive concertgoer would be likely to catch her microtonal singing and delicate piano work in projects with trombonists Jacob Garchik or Ben Gerstein and drummer John McLellan, but more often in the context of her solo performances at New York's Barbès, where she can often be heard singing work of older composers like Robert Schumann and Arnold Schoenberg, as well as jazz standards and microtonal artsongs composed by Joe Maneri or Berkson herself.

Lu-Lu, her first solo CD, features Berkson accompanying her voice on the piano or Wurlitzer electric piano. The record is split mostly between moody interpretations of jazz standards and her original works. The title track moves with a deceptive urgency, borrowing time to pause one moment and rushing to arrive at some other point of interest the next moment, only to be overtaken by a wash of wordless vocal improvisation at the end. This leads into the lone classical work, Robert Schumann's "The Raven," one of the most touchingly evocative moments on the recording. Jazz standards bookend it: Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream" in front and Richard Rodgers' "Some Enchanted Evening" at the end, with Berkson inviting the listener to remember the record with a light wistfulness.

Berkson's abilities as a singer are profound, with incredible control of tone and a command of pitch that far outstretches traditional musicality. Years of studying the microtonal 72-note scale system developed by Joe Maneri have afforded her a nuanced vocabulary of inflection. Her stark keyboard accompaniment and the glacial pacing of her rubato underscore the deliberateness with which she sings.

A debut solo CD has an inherent quality of being an artifact of an intensely private process and this is evident in the clarity of concept and depth of delivery in Berkson's work. Fortunately, the somber mood and austere setting of Berkson's work on Lu-Lu has all the passionate sensitivity needed to bring all of these works to life, while still reminding the listener that it truly is a wonderful thing to express oneself honestly and completely.


Track Listing: Darn That Dream; Lu-Lu; The Raven; Maltz; Out Of Nowhere; Wait On; You Are Special; Penny Lasill; Some Enchanted Evening.

Personnel: Judith Berkson: voice, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Peacock Recordings | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Because I Love You" CD/LP/Track Review Because I Love You
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by John Kelman
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Ready Take One" CD/LP/Track Review Ready Take One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Nakedonia" CD/LP/Track Review Nakedonia
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "Untitled" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!