147

T.J. Graham & Rory Stuart: Standards & Insights

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
T.J. Graham & Rory Stuart: Standards & Insights P>Creative improvised music remains a pursuit that largely doesn’t pay. It’s a reality that all musicians in the idiom must face and the necessity of a day job goes with the territory. In vocalist T.J. Graham’s case it’s college professor for financial sustenance and jazz improviser for creative release. Her debut on CIMP suggests significant facility in the latter role coupled with an unadorned honesty that suffuses her inflection and delivery. Teaming in a simpatico partnership with guitarist Rory Stuart she also evidences a courageous willingness to put her talents up to the aural microscope of scrutiny that characterizes the CIMP approach to recorded sound. Fortunately the particulars of both her voice and Stuart’s lightly amplified strings stand up to the challenge of the denuded surroundings.



The pair succeeds through a combination of close listening and careful planning. Ample rehearsals and a hand-picked songbook of standards both familiar and obscure translate into a relaxed atmosphere in front of the microphones Add to this the relative brevity of the chosen piece and most of the chaff is removed, leaving concise sketches that float in space like gilded tone poems. Stuart’s lilting chords support Graham’s pillow-soft verses on tracks like “Thanks for the Memories” and “Secret Love.” Other tunes like “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” suggest the duo’s more playful side as Stuart’s bouncing strums bookend Graham’s sassy oration of the classic swing anthem. Tempering these successes are moments where the singer dips perhaps too heavily into a romantic side of things and errs on the side of cloying sentimentality. But even these foibles are the province of preference and her consistency over the session’s lengthy duration is difficult to slight.



Vocal projects remain a rarity at CIMP- a label too often pigeonholed for its practices and preferences as documentation vehicle for free jazz. The reality is that producer Bob Rusch’s interests range far and wide. This date is proof positive of both his eclectic tastes and knack for finding talent worthy of recognition in all regions of improvised music. If this disc finds it’s way into the right hands Graham’s gig in academia may become moot.



CIMP discs are available directly through North Country Distributors: http://www.cadencebuilding.com


Title: Standards & Insights | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: CIMP Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Unit[e]" CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Innate" CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Moldy Figs" CD/LP/Track Review Moldy Figs
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Chronicles" CD/LP/Track Review Chronicles
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Beyond The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.