Vocalist Mary LaRose
has explored the instrumental music of jazz artists in the past, penning lyrics to the music of Thelonious Monk
, Albert Ayler
, and Charles Mingus
. Also included in her previous releases is the music of Eric Dolphy
, who has always been a spirit guide for LaRose. With Out There
, she dedicates an entire album to Dolphy's compositions, plus a couple pieces tied to his legacy.
This session reminds you of the great Carmen McRae
's Carmen Sings Monk
(Novus, 1990). Like that recording, LaRose adds insight into and new appreciation of some classic compositions. Alongside partner Jeff Lederer
, who plays clarinets, LaRose's ensemble includes Tomeka Reid
(cello), Patricia Brennan
(vibraphone, electronics), bassist Nick Dunston
, and drummer Matt Wilson
. Blending sung, spoken word, and scatting vocalese, the music is packed with ceaseless animation, with the arrangements by Lederer. LaRose's wordless duet with Wilson's drums opens "Gazzelloni" which blossoms into an infectious groove. Lederer's solo on clarinet (instead of Dolphy's choice of flute) pairs nicely with the solos of Reid, Brennnan, and Dunston. That funny word (a dedication to Italian flutist Severino Gazzelloni) is repeated, parsed, and spun as if in a blender, creating an addictive cocktail. LaRose emulates Annie Ross
' surfing vocalese with "245" and "GW," the latter piece featuring Brennan's vibraphone skewwiffed with electronics. We also hear two poems. Mal Waldron
's "Warm Canto" is decorated with Patricia Donegan's "Lover's Wish," which LaRose speaks over the intertwined clarinets of Lederer, Isaiah Johnson and Cameron Jones, and Hallie Lederer's "Syncopation" becomes the spoken/sung lyrics to Dolphy's "Serene." Matt Wilson's contagious march informs the intricate classic "Out To Lunch," punctuated by Lederer's clarinet, Reid's cello, and LaRose's twisted tongue recital. Maybe the best tribute to Dolphy is the cover of Prince Lasha
and Sonny Simmons
' "Music Matador." LaRose matches the composition with acrobatic lyrics sung over the Afro- Caribbean sounds of salsa trombonist Jimmy Bosch
and percussionist Bobby Sanabria with additional vocals by Maya Rose Lederer. Everybody, let's dance.
Gazzelloni; 245; Out There; Music Matador; GW; Serene; Out To Lunch; Love Me; Warm Canto.