The line-up on this disc is likely to puzzle most listeners familiar with previous entries in the CIMP catalog. Those seeking fiery rendered free jazz rife with ecstatic energy or obliquely sculpted chamber resonances will find their initial apprehensions realized. This may not be an expected CIMP date, but it’s not the first to showcase the talents of a vocalist, Pucci Amanda Jones holds that honor. But this date takes even more chances relying on an instrumentation that leaves no place for the artists to hide. On the surface voice and bass may seem like a sparse and unwieldy combination and while the program of chosen standards is largely a familiar one, the fertile ways in which the duo interprets them are where this session really exhibits vitality and verve.
Washington is vocalist cast from a modernist jazz mold and echoes of Simone, Lincoln and Wilson reverberate in the fringes of her style. There’s also a healthy gospel lining in many of her inflections. She and Brown have an association several decades deep and their partnership resonates in the supple ways each riffs off the other. Meek’s subtle percussion accents crop up on two of the tunes and his swishing maraca beat clicks cleanly with Brown’s throbbing tropical rhythms on the Jobim classic “If You Never Come to Me.” Washington scats lightly on several choruses and the effect is both intimate and playful. “Deep River” is a study in the sheer alluring beauty that can thrive within the lush parameters of a female voice, Brown’s bass offering astute commentary. His brisk walking patterns on “With Open Eyes are similarly adroit and Washington even takes to offering soft handclapped accompaniment between verses. My personal favorites among the generous selection of interpretations include Washington’s impassioned turn on “When I Fall In Love” and the wordless vocalizations matched with elastic string play on Meek’s “Ellingtonia II” and Brown’s closing “El Monte.” Also intriguing are the ambient sounds of song birds that creep in on tracks like Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and a sudden rainstorm outside the Spirit Room that leaves it’s sonic watermark on “Lush Life.” Proof CIMP’s resolute abhorrence of fix-it-in-the-mix technology.
Each of the pieces on this disc is like a fine candied chocolate. Eat too many in one sitting and the sweet tastes are likely to be dulled by saturation; savor each morsel attentively in isolation and the flavors become far more lasting and beguiling. Based on the disc’s title this recital is only the beginning of what stands to be a fruitful partnership between CIMP crew and a vocalist whose talents deserve far wider appreciation.
CIMP on the web: http://www.cadencebuilding.com
Track Listing: Someone to Watch Over Me/ If You Never Come to Me*/ Deep River/ With Open Eyes/ When I Fall In Love/ Lush Life/ Ellingtonia II/ Foot Prints/ Autumn Leaves/ You
Personnel: Rosella Washington- vocals; Tyrone Brown- bass; Bill Meek- percussion*. Recorded: May 9 & 10, 2000, Rossie, NY.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.