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Mary LaRose: Out Here

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Mary LaRose: Out Here
Vocalist Mary LaRose has long been putting vocals, with and without words, to the works of modern jazz composers such as Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and Eric Dolphy. This CD is her first full-length exploration of Dolphy, probing the free-wheeling elusiveness of his work with a group which includes several of the instruments he used in his recordings, cello, vibraphone, and bass clarinet.

LaRose approaches Dolphy's music by putting lyrics to some tunes, singing wordlessly on others and even reciting appropriate poetry on two tracks.. Everything has a playful lightness which feels right in tune with his sound-world. On "Gazzelloni" the leader chirps out the title over Patricia Brennan's electronically warped vibes, Tomeka Reid's chugging cello, Jeff Lederer's up and down clarinet and a drop-step beat supplied by bassist Nick Dunston and drummer Matt Wilson. "245" sees LaRose purring and scatting over the melody as the band cruises into a frisky walking jazz groove. On "Out There" and "GW," she navigates the tunes' erratic tempo shifts, pauses and surges with ease as the other musicians push and pull brightly through the music, running a brisk pace on "GW" and creating a hazy, dreamlike mood on "Out There.."

On "Serene" LaRose recites a poem, "Syncopation," written by Hallie Lederer, over an ambient layer of resonating vibraphone sounds which changes into a bluesy chamber jazz group sound as LaRose switches to wistful blues ballad singing in the manner of Annie Ross. This version of "Music Matador" doubles down on the Caribbean flavor of the Dolphy treatment by beefing up the band with two Latin Jazz specialists, trombonist Jimmy Bosch and percussionist Bobby Sanabria. Saxophonist Jeff Lederer only plays clarinet and bass clarinet on this session and his woody sound blends well with LaRose's warm, elastic voice. That is especially true on "Love Me" which was originally a powerful duet by Dolphy on bass clarinet with bassist Richard Davis. Here it is done by just LaRose and Lederer; the vocalist stretches her voice through the highs and lows of Dolphy's solo as Lederer honks and cries in support. The CD ends with a rare Mal Waldron composition, "Warm Canto" which originally featured Dolphy on clarinet, Here LaRose softly hums over a clarinet trio's melodic lilt before evocatively reading a poem by Patricia Donegan, "Lover's Wish" with sympathetic murmurs from the cello and vibes.

The unorthodox beauty and meditative serenity of Eric Dolphy's music comes out radiantly in this tribute. Mary LaRose and her partners treat his work with respect while adding elements of confidence and adventure which highlight how joyous and fun it can be. This is an excellent effort from a very talented and criminally overlooked musician.

Track Listing

Gazzelloni; 245; Out There; Music Matador; GW; Serene; Out to Lunch; Love Me; Warm Canto.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Jeff Lederer: clarinet, bass clarinet; Jimmy Bosch: vibraphone, percussion (4); Bobby Sanabria: percussion (4); Isaiah Johnson: clarinet (9); Cameron Jones: clarinet (9; Maya Rose Lederer: vocals (4).

Album information

Title: Out Here | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Little (i) Music


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