Musical genres become extraneous on Presence, as originals, standards, folk, and R&B are transformed, through diva Lisa Sokolov’s texturally thick tones and changing tempos, into emotionally powerful encounters. Set in the context of a piano trio, Sokolov uses her lyrical dynamism, vocal range and innovative command of rhythm and phrasing to expand the boundaries of this conventional format.
The title piece is an original multitracked singing experience that sucks you in like a cyclone and then hurtles and lifts you higher and higher as the vocals envelop. Sokolov is adept at seizing upon what might otherwise be unnoticed aspects of a melody or lyric and artfully improvising upon them through stylistic and verbal free association creating compelling new compositions. William Parker’s “Hopefully” is turned into a powerful a capella vocal excursion whose religious fervor resurrects Janis Joplin, while the jazz/blues underpinnings of “Chain of Fools” are exposed in a stripped down piano trio arrangement.
Both “Home on the Range” and “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” become vehicles to pensively uplift, as Sokolov dovetails “Rise and Shine” into the latter and flavors the former with a modicum of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” Cole Porter’s “You Do Something to Me” is a bass/vocal repartee with quickly shifting rhythms that has bassist Cameron Brown keeping up with Sokolov’s scat calisthenics. Pianist John DiMartino is also able to meet the demands of Sokolov’s stylistic deviations. He plays “out” on freer cuts like “Hard Being Human,” provides a classical/jazz feel to “For All We Know,” and contributes the appropriate speed-demon piano to “When I Die.” Sokolov wonderfully personalizes that Laura Nyro chestnut by adding to it a mother’s awe at the birth of her child that then transitions to a version of the traditional “Rock My Soul.” Being in the Presence of Lisa Sokolov will alter your conception of a female jazz vocalist.
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)
The best show I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in 1997. Being the youngest kids in the room, the host put us right in front of the band. The afro-beat electric set blew the roof off the building, an unforgettable sound
The best show I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in 1997. Being the youngest kids in the room, the host put us right in front of the band. The afro-beat electric set blew the roof off the building, an unforgettable sound. After, my girlfriend and I just sauntered up the stairs to the green room to meet the
band. I posed for a picture with Joe, after talking a little bit about boxing and how to stay healthy while the other guys in the band tore through a bucket of fried