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 grew up listening to my father's Jazz records and listening to radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's Jazz records and listening to radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.