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 Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Honey For The Biscuit" CD/LP/Track Review Honey For The Biscuit
by James Nadal
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Waller" CD/LP/Track Review Waller
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Right Where I Need to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Right Where I Need to Be
by Jim Olin
Published: June 6, 2016
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!