77

Jenny Scheinman: Mischief and Mayhem

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Jenny Scheinman: Mischief and Mayhem The title of violinist Jenny Scheinman's sixth album as leader tells much of, but not the whole story. Playful and daring, with memorable melodies rubbing shoulders with arresting improvisations, there's an irresistible freshness and vigor about the music. However, there are more layers to peel away, and great subtlety and lyricism reveal themselves upon each subsequent listen. Scheinman's solo career has been somewhat overshadowed by her decade-long collaborations with guitarist Bill Frisell and her busy schedule as a side-musician, yet her solo recordings highlight her undoubted talents as a songwriter and, as demonstrated on Jenny Scheinman (KOCH Records, 2008), a singer to boot. Reverting here to instrumental territory, Mischief and Mayhem states the case for being Scheinman's most striking work to date.

The loping rhythm of "A Ride With Polly Jean" seduces from the get go, and Jim Black's perfectly placed trio of bass drum hits early on give the number its liftoff. Scheinman's uncluttered, bewitching playing raises goose bumps, and she is lent telling support by bassist Todd Sickafoose's mantra-like double-bass ostinato and guitarist Nels Cline's deftness on six strings, and atmospheric, hazy loops. It's a stunning opener and would serve well as a soundtrack for a spaghetti mid-western, conjuring big, open spaces and epic adventure.

Scheinman explores African flavors on "Sand Dipper" and "Ali Farka Touché." "Sand Dipper" successfully juxtaposes a stripped down earthiness—with lilting violin center-stage—with a brooding restlessness. On "Ali Farka Touché," Cline and Scheinman combine in rootsy homage to Ali Farka Torre, evoking perfectly the spirit of the late Malian singer/guitarist. Scheinman is as much at home exploring African sounds as she is playing jazz or folksy fiddle tunes, as witnessed on "Baba Drame," from Frisell's The Intercontinentals (Nonesuch, 2003) and Scheinman's own "Song for Sidiki" from Crossing the Field (KOCH Records, 2008); clearly a whole album of African-inspired music wouldn't go amiss.

There's some serious mischief about "Blues For Double Vee," a lovingly irreverent tribute to the Village Vanguard; surf-punk drums spur some gritty country-rock from Cline and a paint-stripper of a solo from Scheinman, which contains the energetic swing and rough edges of violinist Stuff Smith. A punkish energy runs through "The Mite," a heady workout featuring inspired playing from Cline and Scheinman at the epicenter of intense group interplay.

Scheinman explores more meditative terrain on three tracks, which though spaced apart, form a sort of triptych. The dream-like lament of "Devil's Ink" lulls before delivering a sting in the tail; "The Audit" contains a less dark lyricism, and "July Tenth in Three Four"—featuring a poignant solo from Sickafoose—dawns like a spring morning. These tracks should appeal to fans of Californian experimenters I Heart Lung.

Scheinman has led this band for five years, but its debut release has been well worth the wait. Song form and improvisation go hand-in-hand, blurring the lines between jazz, folk, African roots, rock and experimental soundscapes. Scheinman is a compelling story teller; is it any wonder Frisell calls upon her services time and time again?


Track Listing: A Ride With Polly Jean; Sand Dipper; Blues For The Double Vee; Devil's Ink; The Audit; Ali Farka Touché; July Tenth In Three Four; The Mite.

Personnel: Jenny Scheinman: violin; Nels Cline: guitars; Todd Sickafoose: bass; Jim Black: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Outside In" CD/LP/Track Review Outside In
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Still Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Still Happy
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute To Horace Parlan" CD/LP/Track Review My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute To Horace Parlan
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!