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As Michele Rosewoman and her Quintessence project evolve, the music continually reflects all the influences that have shaped this most intriguing composer and pianist. Take for example the opening minute of "The In Side Out . What sounds like a string section but is, in fact, electronics, leads to some appealingly complex writing for a frontline horn sectionMark Shim on tenor, Miguel Zenón on alto and Josh Roseman on trombonethat evanesces into view and then is gone. It promises more intrigue to followit's part of a work-in-progressand then we're suddenly in a funk groove with the leader on an electronic keyboard and the ever-adventurous David Fuczyinski on guitar. These players manage to get down and take it out at the same time. The electronics never sound dated or used for their own sakethey paint the colors in which the composer finds, as she says, "mystery and intrigue .
The horns help provide a good deal of the conversation vital to the best jazz playing. "Link, for example, finds Zenón (on soprano) and Shim blending to state the quirky modern theme then musing behind the soloists. Both take strong leads that display how well they listen to everything implied and stated in the tune. Bass lines link the sections and create a most engaging modern jazz experience. But Rosewoman never seems to rest and so each tune that emerges is part of a larger story that moves forward no matter the number of "intriguing diversions.
Rosewoman is a propulsive bandleader and guides the listeners and the players on a most seductive journeythrough ballads and dances and ending up doing a number on Marvin Gaye's lesser-known "Life is For Learning. It takes about as much time as an old single but the players show a true love for the groove and the music, as Rosewoman has done throughout her career and now on this terrific recording.
Track Listing: Cuerpolarity; Warm; Link: Guapo; Guapo Remix; Eshu Laroye; With You In Mind; The ER; The Fineness Of; Advance Dance; LIfe Is For Learning.
Personnel: Michele Rosewoman: piano, fender rhodes, midi keyboard, vocals; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone, midi wind controller, programming; Miguel Simon: alto and soprano saxophones; Brad Jones: acoustic and electric bass; Derrek Phillips, drums; David Fiuczynski, guitar; Josh Roseman: trombone; Olu Femi Mitchell: vocals; Pedro Pablo Martinez: congas, bata, vocals, percussion.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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