Seattle-based composer/trombonist Naomi Moon Siegel, is a member of Wayne Horvitz's Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble and has performed with fellow trombonists Julian Priester and Wycliffe Gordon, among others, while maintaining a steady presence in the Northwest music scene. Not so coincidentally, Horvitz' appearance on five of the ten tracks recalls some of the pianist's pastoral tone on Some Places Are Forever Afternoon (Songlines Recordings, 2015).
Produced on Siegel's own Break Open Records label, the original compositions on Shoebox View reflect cross-genre influences with subtle flavoring culled from her retreats in Latin America and Africa. The effect is, surprisingly, not a type of world music but more a kind of ecologically organic hybrid. More than one dozen musicians take part in the album with guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme, Horvitz, and drummer Eric Eagle accounting for the core group and Siegel playing multiple instruments.
From the opening piece, "Jeannine's Joy," Siegel paints a warm and rich soundscape, hypnotic without being repetitive. Playing not just trombone but also keyboards, she is clearly in control of the environment she's invented. Despite her global influences, there is a touch of Charles Ives that runs through these pieces and certainly more folky elements, especially where Siegel picks up her ukulele for "Ukelady." More off the beaten path are tracks like "Ever Yes" and "Brown, Grey, Orange, Green," though they too are expressive and elegant in their improvisations.
Siegel has assembled a group with an ambience directed by both the compositions and the musicians who each have a voice in the flow of the music. Her uncommonly appealing writing has a subtle emotional depth that engages across genres and projects a rich, spacious sound. Shoebox View is a different musical experience and an impressive debut for this talented artist.
Track Listing: Jeannine's Joy; It's Not Safe; Casa de Aves; Ukelady; Punta Uva, Ever Yes; Brown, Grey, Orange, Green; Electric Flower; Mama Sanchaba; Mañana, Mañana.
Personnel: Naomi Moon Siegel: trombone, piano (5, 7, 9, 10), ukulele (4), keyboard (1, 2, 3, 5); Sean Woolstenhulme: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo (2, 4, 5, 6 ,7, 9, 10); Wayne Horvitz: organ, piano, Wurlitzer (2, 4, 6, 8, 10); Eric Eagle: drums, percussion (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8); Keith Lowe: upright bass (6, 8); Alex Guy: viola (3, 6, 8, 9); Ivan Arteaga: alto saxophone (3, 5); Michael Coleman: Wurlitzer, synthesizers (3, 5); Thione Diop: percussion (1); Jefferson Rose: electric bass (1); Andrew Vait: syntesizers (1); Jacques Willis: beat production (3); Greg Sinibaldi: baritone saxophone (6); Steve O'Brien: trumpet (9).