All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

130

Lisa Sokolov: Presence

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
This is one of the times I'm grateful that this magazine doesn't have a rating system. I've never heard anything like this before (although Sokolov has two previous CDs out that were reportedly well-received), and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it. I do know that "Presence" is terrifically innovative, with Sokolov exploring the myriad textures of her voice like a daring instrumentalist, and whether she's pure or raspy, shrill or rounded, whispery or full-throated, she's always passionate.

There are hints of Janis Joplin, moments of Marilyn Monroe's coy trilling in the deranged "You Do Something To Me," a whiff of Maria Muldaur, some spectacular scatting, and rangey jazz vocalizing. Sokolov also plays with time and content, casting the Midwestern anthem "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" in her own bold mold. It's an experience—that much I can tell you.



The CD opens with "Presence," with its energetic groove and Sokolov overdubbed through her driving spiritual quest (Presence everywhere/Hiding/Hiding). This is a running theme throughout—in the a cappella, gospel-ish "Hopefully," where she wants "the mystery [made] clearer," and the howling "Hard Being Human," and her dramatic reconstruction of Laura Nyro's "And When I Die." The title track drew me in, and it's still my favorite, though I also liked the vibrant "Chain of Fools," especially where she scats like a drummer.

The band is terrific throughout; they clearly "get" what she's doing and provide ideal support. While I found the scalding vocal on "As It Is" almost unlistenable, it was followed by a deeply-felt, often childlike "For All We Know," with brilliant solo intro and superb accompaniment by pianist John DiMartino. The closer is a unique rendition of "Home on the Range" (yes, that one), which, like the opener, was recorded live at the 2002 Tampere Jazz Happening in Finland.



The fact that Sokolov is also a veteran music therapist may have something to do with her rule-bending and emphasis on unbridled feeling. Occasionally jarring, often unpredictable, never boring, "Presence" is full of angst but also an original voice and approach that blasts one's expectations. I know I'll be returning to that title track.


Track Listing: Presence, Hopefully, Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, You Do SOmething to Me, Chain of Fools, Hard Being Human, Sons of, Water Lilies, And When I Die, As it Is, For All We Know, Home on the Range

Personnel: Lisa Sokolov (vocals, keyboards, composer), John DiMartino (piano), Cameron Brown (bass), Gerry Hemingway (drums)

Title: Presence | Year Released: 2004

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
A Quiet Thing

A Quiet Thing

Laughing Horse Records
2009

buy
 

Presence

Rhythm Zone
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review
Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics CD/LP/Track Review
Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Invisible Atlas CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Blue Dreams CD/LP/Track Review
Blue Dreams
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Charlie & Paul" CD/LP/Track Review Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Soliloquy" CD/LP/Track Review Soliloquy
by Don Phipps
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional" CD/LP/Track Review All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Truth Decay" CD/LP/Track Review Truth Decay
by John Kelman
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Magic Circle" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Awase" CD/LP/Track Review Awase
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: May 7, 2018