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A rather inappropriate title for an album that is seemingly flawless with no discernable rough edges heard, Rough Edges is another blazing effort from pianist Alexandra Caselli and a pleasing one at that. A classically-trained pianist who began playing the instrument at the age of six, Caselli begins to reveal the depth of that training on the light ballad of "Colors of The Rain" with a warm performance on the keys. Not only is Caselli an exceptional player, she's also a talented composer providing eleven creative and lively original compositions to sample.
Unlike her previous album, Out The Aquarium (Moonjumpers 2, 2004), where Caselli performs with two different rhythm sections in a standard piano trio format, she augments her core trio of bassist Jennifer Leitham and drummer Randy Lake with several guest players. Among them are flautist Jennifer Hall who was part of ABC's Dancing with The Stars house band, former Ray Charles guitarist Brad Rabuchin and saxophonist Carol Chaikin. Adding yet another element to her music, Caselli includes two lyrical pieces with "Blues for Stevie" and "Out of the Blue" with vocals provided by Jonathan Dane, who also plays the trumpet and flugelhorn on other tracks.
The music is quite charming as the program opens up with the lively, upbeat "Waiting for Jennifer," featuring spirited playing from Hall on alto flute, and well accompanied by guitarist Rabuchin as Caselli plays the melody. On "Blues for Stevie" it's saxophonist Chaikin, following the vocal intro from Dane, who distinguishes herself with a sparkling solo on alto while Leitham and Lake make their presence felt. The guitarist takes part of the limelight with cool, crisp play on "Field Trip," sharing the stage with Leitham's brisk acoustic bass.
While graced by excellent solos from her band mates and guests, it's pianist Alexandra Caselli who delivers a marvelous performance and deserves the credit for crafting, sanding down and polishing the Rough Edges off one very fine recording.
Track Listing: Waiting for Jennifer; Blues for Stevie; Colors of the Rain; Field Trip; If You Loved Me as Much as I Can Imagine; Out of the Blue; Butterfly Eyebrows; Home at Last; Rough Edges; Still Time; Lift Me Up.
Personnel: Alexandra Caselli: piano; Jennifer Leitham: bass; Randy Drake: drums; Jennifer Hall: alto flute (1,3,10); Carol Chaikin: alto sax (2)soprano sax (5,9); Brad Rabuchin: electric guitar (1,4), acoustic guitar (3); Jonathan Dane: vocals (2,6)flugelhorn (6,8), trumpet (11).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.