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Rosana Eckert: Sailing Home

C. Michael Bailey By

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Rosana Eckert has made a name for herself as a jazz vocals composer and arranger with her previous recordings, At The End Of The Day (GEM Records, 2003) and Small Hotel (GEM Records, 2010). Bright and imaginative, Eckert draws from a lifetime of music beginning with her childhood in El Paso, Texas, where the musical melting pot was richly seasoned with American, Hispanic, and European influences. Educated at the notable music school, the University of North Texas, she went on to become a faculty member in addition to leading her own band, performing as a wedding singer and recording commercial jingles. This wide-openness to anything musical is Eckert's charm. She has a giving and generous musical personality that manifests in her broad format and genre palette.

On Sailing Home, Eckert composes or co-composes eleven disparate jazz songs, each with its own character and texture. Eckert's music is as much tactile as tuneful. This tactile musical nature reveals itself in the intersection of a chosen rhythm and the song arrangements. On the title song, Eckert and pianist Peter Eldridge craft a sonic walk on an uneven path. Over the circuitous figure, guitarist Corey Christiansen lays an infectious muted electric counterfigure. Ben Whittman's prepared steel drums are just gravy. Eckert's singing is bright, positive and inviting, setting a warm tone to the entire project. "Garby The Great" is a slinky, blues-inflected ballad with Eckert singing with authority and awareness, almost as a spontaneous vocalese. Her scat counterpoint to Young Heo's walking bass leads to Christiansen's octaves, and Heo's muscular solo, tartly accented by Christiansen. If a voice can mimic a fingersnap, Eckert's does so.

"Someone Else's Life" shimmers with dubbed vocals, Eckert studying harmony and sound structure in a forward and progressive manner. Eldridge and Christiansen provide a delicate filigree hung on Heo's spare bass playing. Juxtaposed against this shiny surface is the humid and inviting "Waiting," featuring Ginny Mac's whispering accordion weaving with a lazy Reggae beat. The attention grabber is "Coriander Stomp" initiated by a dirty funk line by Christiansen that gives way to drummer Steve Barnes channelling Little Feat's Richie Hayward in a jaunty street march. Christiansen's solo is boss with fuzz and swing. Eckert sings wordlessly, scatting in and out of the musical celebration, which is a good way to describe the entire recording..

Track Listing: Sailing Home; Garby the Great; Someone Else's Life; Waiting; Miles of Blue; Blue Flower; Coriander Stomp; Empty Room, Lovely Ever After; For Good; Meant for Me.

Personnel: Rosana Eckert, vocals; Peter Eldridge, piano, organ, keyboards; Corey Christiansen, electric/acoustic guitars; Young Heo, acoustic bass; Steve Barnes, drums; Ben Wittman, percussion (1, 4, 9); Gary Eckert, percussion (5, 7, 10); Daniel Pardo, alto flute (8, 9); Brian Piper, piano (7); Ginny Mac, accordion (4).

Title: Sailing Home | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: OA2 Records

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