1

Kadi Vija Key Project: Roaming in the Contemporary Society to Make Peace With It

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Kadi Vija Key Project: Roaming in the Contemporary Society to Make Peace With It
Although her album's title is a bit unwieldy, vocalist Kadi Vija's summer 2020 release does convey the artist's distinctive approach to living in challenging times. Rather than aiming for dramatic gestures or the boldest imaginable change, perhaps the more sensible strategy is simply to figure out how to keep going—not resignation, exactly, but a willingness to yield, and to remain open to whatever new possibilities may appear. With a well-chosen quartet attuned to this vision, Vija's music has a lilting, ingratiating quality that doesn't try to do too much, but is all the more effective as a result of its delimited ambitions.

Vija's prior release, Ugly Beauty (Texicalli, 2017), was definitely an intrepid endeavor: an album's worth of Thelonious Monk tunes, sung wordlessly with the piano accompaniment of Lucas Dann. If at times the arduous demands of that material got the better of Vija, that isn't the case here. These are her own compositions, and they are ideal in showcasing her relaxed, languid style, more content to float untethered than to lock onto jagged angles. Her partners are well-suited for this project. Bass clarinetist Max Zenger, guitarist Tuomo Dahlblom and drummer Tuomas Timonen provide a rich, bottom-heavy tonal palette that is quite effective in providing resources for music that draws liberally from both jazz and pop idioms.

The opener, "Standing Still," creates a good deal of atmosphere, as Zenger's sinuous phrases, joined in unison by Vija, hover over a simple repeated guitar figure and understated electronics, with Timonen providing just enough ballast to sustain the piece's gentle momentum. One of the album's two tracks with lyrics, "Circles and Falls" generates a mood of expansive wonder, while "Blind" raises the energy level, with Dahlblom's guitar upfront and Vija's vocals taking on a more assertive role, and featuring a rock-inflected interlude. "Roaming in the Contemporary Society" takes a twangy Dahlblom riff and builds on its intensity, with Zenger sometimes merging with Vija and occasionally offering support, before he launches into an especially invigorating solo.

Other tracks skew closer to jazz. "Water Dripping Dance" is carried by a loping swing and Vija's most creative flourishes, bending the notes and expanding her phrases convincingly, while "Between the Lines" has a warm, dusky ballad feel. And "Chord Travel" finishes with a show of strength, especially from Timonen, whose bursting drum solo leads the band into an ardent climax, although unfortunately one with a fade-out rather than a proper finish.

With a well-defined concept and the right material to frame Vija's vocal talents, this release has a lot going for it.

Track Listing

Standing Still; Blind; Water Dripping Dance; Circles and Falls; Roaming in the Contemporary Society; Between the Lines; Chord Travel.

Personnel

Kadi Vija: voice / vocals; Max Zenger: clarinet, bass; Tuomo Dahlblom: guitar; Tuomas Timonen: drums.

Album information

Title: Roaming in the Contemporary Society to Make Peace With It | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Flame Jazz Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read What Comes Next
What Comes Next
Peter Bernstein
Read A Silent Play in the Shadow of Power
A Silent Play in the Shadow of Power
Bruno Parrinha/Abdul Moimême/Carlos Santos
Read Suite!
Suite!
Roberto Magris
Read Jammin' With KC
Jammin' With KC
Sylwester Ostrowski
Read Rhythm City
Rhythm City
Ptah Williams, Larry Kornfeld, Rob Silverman
Read Stringers & Struts
Stringers & Struts
Rempis/Parker/Flaten/Cunningham
Read Live In Maui
Live In Maui
Jimi Hendrix Experience

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.