2

Michelle Pollace: New Beginning

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Michelle Pollace: New Beginning Pianist and composer Michelle Pollace from the San Francisco Bay Area has been a long-time exponent of the Latin jazz genre going back to her days as co-leader of the Zarate Pollace Project where, along with Bay Area songwriter and guitarist Abel Zarate, the group performed a blend of fusion, jazz, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles of music. Pollace continues her exploration of Latin jazz leading her own small combo on their debut outing New Beginning, featuring original compositions and arrangements of contemporary jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Assembling a cast of top-notch local players, the pianist performs in various formats from a traditional piano trio to a light ensemble with percussion and saxophone voices filling out the sound.

Pollace's grandfather, a professional jazz pianist himself, once performed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" with legendary singer Judy Garland in a Chicago hotel. The program opens with a new Latin jazz arrangement of the Harold Arlen classic inspired by this event and is dedicated to both her father and grandfather and stands as one of the dicey renditions of this famous song ever recorded. The title of the disc was actually inspired by the experience of becoming a solo band leader and mother during the same period. The music is as up tempo and energetic as the exuberant "Hot House Dandelion" and the Brazilian-tinged "Forro."

The funky-smooth bossa of "Ondas do Mar" is the second of the Brazilian-flavored pieces with Pollace on the electric piano on the light introspective bossa "First Flight" completing the last of the Brazilian style pieces. The Afro-Cuban rhythms are on plainly display on the original "Be Right Back" featuring gorgeous pianos solos, percussion from Carlos Caro and the soprano saxophone voice of Kristen Strom for one of the highlights of the album. Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona would have been quite pleased with the new treatment Pollace provides of his classic "La Comparsa" featuring the combo of Strom and Caro once again.

The lively up tempo tropical jazz rumba of "Bright Eyes" winds down the repertoire leaving one of the best pieces for the finale. Set against the backdrop of a slow mid tempo mood, Pollace closes the session with "That Was Then," a traditional Afro-Cuban danzon infused with modern jazz harmonies that defines the project. Striking out on her own and being a mom are not the only beginnings pianist Michelle Pollace has to be proud of, with New Beginning Michelle reveals the depth of her compositional skills and her talents as a Latin jazz pianist of note.

Track Listing: Somewhere Over The Rainbow; Hot House Dandelion; New Beginning; Forro; Ondas do Mar; Be Right Back; La Comparasa; First Flight; Bright Eyes; That Was Then.

Personnel: Michelle Pollace: piano, electric piano; David Belove: bass; Phil Hawkins: drums; Carlos Caro: percussion; Michaelle Goerlitz: percussion (4, 5, 8); Kristen Strom: soprano saxophone (6, 7); Rebeca Mauleon: chimes (3); clave, chekere (9).

Title: New Beginning | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by John Kelman
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "The Art Pepper Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review The Art Pepper Quartet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.