147

Ellen Rowe: Sylvan Way

J. Robert Bragonier By

Sign in to view read count
Ellen Rowe: Sylvan Way Jazz pianist and composer Ellen Rowe currently serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan. Sylvan Way is her first CD as leader; she has been a guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio and has performed with jazz artists such as Kenny Wheeler, Tim Ries, Tom Harrell, John Clayton, Ingrid Jensen and Jiggs Whigham.

On this effort she has surrounded herself predominantly with rhythm sections from the Detroit area. Andrew Bishop plays saxophone on three tracks; “Hymn,” written for Los Angeles’ John Clayton, provides a mellow vehicle for his singing arco bass and Joe LaBarbera’s percussion; and the concluding “Reminiscence” is unaccompanied. Both of these selections, plus the two openers and “The Phoenix,” are originals.

Rowe is a lyrical and expressive performer who is at her best in a contemplative mood, as illustrated by “Hymn,” “Shadow,” and the two waltzes, the pensive “Sylvan Way” and the wistful “Reminiscence.” But she creates a variety of moods: “Visa Blues” crackles with wry good humor, Hank Mobley’s “Funk in Deep Freeze” sashays in bluesy style, and “Phoenix” shimmers in mythic splendor. Rowe’s compositional skills are considerable – hers are melodies that I find myself humming hours later. Stylish, tasteful and swinging are words I’d use to describe her.

Two other standards complete the play list. “Love Is Here to Stay,” the last tune George Gershwin wrote, is taken brightly; Rowe shows her mastery of Milt Buckner’s locked-hand block chords, in addition to some tasty single-note melody lines, while Keller plays his best two-chorus bass solo on the disc. Burke and Van Heusen’s “It Could Happen to You” is likewise taken briskly, sounding like it was written for her, rather than for the 1944 movie And the Angels Sing. Here it’s Kolton who gets the bass solo, and Brown who trades eights with Rowe.

Ellen Rowe’s was a new name to me, but a welcome discovery.

Visit www.boporecords.com .


Track Listing: Visa Blues; Sylvan Way; Funk in Deep Freeze; Shadow of Your Smile; Love Is Here to Stay; The Phoenix; Hymn; It Could Happen to You; Reminiscence

Personnel: Ellen Rowe (piano); Paul Keller or Dan Kolton (bass), Pete Siers or Tom Brown (drums), and Andrew Bishop (tenor and soprano saxes), with special guests John Clayton (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums)

Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: BOPO Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Isang" CD/LP/Track Review Isang
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Rub Out The Word" CD/LP/Track Review Rub Out The Word
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Live In Greenwich Village" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Greenwich Village
by John Sharpe
Published: April 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!