All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

147

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

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
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

Related Articles

Read Dawn CD/LP/Track Review
Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Life Of CD/LP/Track Review
Life Of
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun CD/LP/Track Review
Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Enso CD/LP/Track Review
Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Let Your Light Shine On CD/LP/Track Review
Let Your Light Shine On
by Chris May
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "For the Love of You" CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Prophecy Of Nue" CD/LP/Track Review Prophecy Of Nue
by John Sharpe
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Veterans of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Mannequins" CD/LP/Track Review Mannequins
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 9, 2017