A New Face on Jazz. Sarah Jane Cion, the conservatory-trained (the New England Conservatory) phenomenon, was awarded First Place in the 1999 Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville Florida. From there she found her way into the arms of Naxos Jazz, which has now produced her first recording as a leader, Moon Song. She is a well-schooled musician (teaching at Tufts) without being academic. Cion has previously recorded with Marian McPartland, Mike Stern, Antonio Hart and Herve Jeanne. On this disc, Cion spends most of her time on her own inventive compositions. Her piano style, wholly her own, contains traces of Toshiko Akioshi and Vince Guaraldi ("A Pond Beneath the Moon"), Herbie Hancock ("Samba Picara"), and Bud Powell ("Blues For Chick"). Cion listened well to those who came before her and forged from them a strong and unique voice. That voice is rhythmically developed and propulsive. Her playing is aggressive without being overtly so. She knows what effect she desires and achieves it with the greatest efficiency and grace.
Joining Cion is Saxophonist Chris Potter playing a virile tenor saxophone on "Moon Song" and a pensive soprano on "Suncycle". Bassist Phil Palombi and Drummer Billy Hart round out the piano trio, providing crisp and crystalline accompaniment. Cion allows the whole band to solo with Palombi smoking through the disc opener and Hart displaying his considerable chops all over the place. Balladmeister Fred Hersch used the word "powerful" to describe Sarah Jane Cion's playing. I think that sums up both her performance and compositional skills. This critic eagerly awaits the next Sarah Jane Cion offering.
Track Listing: A Pond Beneath The Moon; Last Cha Cha At Longbeach; Moon Song; Samba Picara; Waltz For Fall; Blues For Chick; Suncycle; How Long Has This Been Going On; Solo Piano Medley: I'll Keep Loving You; Ballad Of The Sad Young Men; What If. (Total Time: 55.23)
Personnel: Sarah Jane Cion: Piano; Phil Palombi: Bass; Billy Hart: Drums; Chris Potter: Tenor and Soprano Saxophones.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.