Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

28

Chris Tordini Trio, featuring Becca Stevens and Greg Ruggerio: Midnight Sun

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The vinyl-only subscription label, Newvelle Records, enters the second half of its second season with the Chris Tordini Trio collection, Midnight Sun. Bassist Tordini is joined by vocalist Becca Stevens and guitarist Greg Ruggiero on a set of standards bookended by Ornette Coleman covers. The readings here are stripped of any superfluous trappings, allowing the individual performances to stand on their own merits.

Tordini is a much-in-demand bassists having worked with pianist Tigran Hamasyan, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, Chris Speed and Kris Davis. He is at home whether playing free improvisation, fusion or standards; the latter being the theme on Midnight Sun. Stevens has the kind of malleable voice that is at ease in the avant-garde world of Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra's I Go Humble (Zoho Music, 2013) or her own Regina (GroundUP, 2017), a blend of jazz and folk influences. Her diverse background includes work with David Crosby and Brad Mehldau. Tordini and Stevens are part of her namesake band as well. Ruggiero is a steady presence on the New York circuit and he has played with Greg Osby, Mark Turner and Jane Monheit.

Coleman's "What Reason Could I Give" from his Science Fiction (Columbia Records, 1972) is a more temperate ballad in comparison to the original, slightly anamorphic version. Charles Mingus' "Portrait," though given a guileless reading by Stevens, has a mysterious, haunted air about it. "If I Should Lose You," like the later "Everything Happens to Me," takes a jazzier turn but even when Midnight Sun swings, it does so gently. Much of what we hear is focused on Stevens' voice and Ruggiero's guitar but Tordini stands out with his solo on Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" and on the closing Coleman tune, "Peace"—a bass solo sans vocal.

While each member of this trio has demonstrated their ample ability to generate textural effects and extended techniques, this album takes a minimal approach and is less interested in clever arraignments. That said, the improvising instrument of note on Midnight Sun is Stevens' voice which transcends any self-imposed restrictions that come with translating the national songbook for the modern jazz repertoire. Midnight Sun—with a stunning cover from the Tendance Floue photographic archives—is another winning effort from the Newvelle series.

Track Listing: Side A: What Reason Could I Give; Portrait; If I Should Lose You; Midnight Sun. Side B: My Funny Valentine; Everything Happens to Me; Prelude to a Kiss; Peace.

Personnel: Chris Tordini: bass; Becca Stevens: vocals; Greg Ruggiero: guitar.

Title: Midnight Sun | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Newvelle Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Absinthe Album Reviews
Absinthe
By Mark Sullivan
March 18, 2019
Read Chi Album Reviews
Chi
By John Ephland
March 18, 2019
Read The Time Is Now Album Reviews
The Time Is Now
By David A. Orthmann
March 18, 2019
Read Road To The Sun Album Reviews
Road To The Sun
By Dan McClenaghan
March 18, 2019
Read Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs Album Reviews
Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs
By John Sharpe
March 18, 2019
Read Hyperuranion Album Reviews
Hyperuranion
By Dan McClenaghan
March 17, 2019
Read Nuevo Valso Album Reviews
Nuevo Valso
By Friedrich Kunzmann
March 17, 2019