Amy Stephens released her debut album in '98, yet My Many Moods offers a better sense of her piano talents. This is her first recorded statement following her move to Seattle, among other changes in her life. The overall feel is eclectic yet smooth.
One could imagine driving along the West Coast with the easygoing sound of the group dominated by the interplay of Stephens on piano and Tom Clark on tenor or soprano sax, supported by Jack Helsley on bass and Kenny Phelps on drums. The title track, which features Brian Ken on soprano, is a good representation of this mood. Near the end, some of the melodic notes echo Chuck Mangione's Save Tonight For Me (Sony, 1990), although the rhythmic beat is not as deliberate.
Two pieces slow the pace slightly for balance. On "Lullaby, the full quartet evokes the feeling of the piece's title (the lyrical ballad was written for Stephens' son Elijah). "Inquietude of the Soul, by contrast, is a very melodic piano solo with a strong classical influence that may hint at one of the elements in the leader's training.
The Amy Stephens Group works well together to perform the original tunes on this recording. The piano and the saxophones also have more impact during brief improvisational solos, as well as while playing melodic lines.
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!