All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

160

Sarah Wilson: Trapeze Project

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Few contemporary jazz musicians can have paid their dues in the esoteric environment of a puppet theater, but for Sarah Wilson the Bread and Butter Puppet Theater proved to be an invaluable part of her musical education. Trapeze Project, the trumpeter's second album, is such an engaging and evocative recording that maybe more jazz players should spend their apprenticeships with puppets.

Wilson's playing is considered and thoughtful. It may lack power at times, but this lends her tone a slightly melancholy air which works beautifully with Ben Goldberg's soft and melodic clarinet. "She Stands in a Room" showcases this playing partnership to particularly good effect, the tune's quiet sadness being expressed exquisitely by the two musicians, underpinned by Scott Amendola's oddly sorrowful drum rolls. "At Zebulon" opens with some funky piano courtesy of Myra Melford. Amendola's drumming is again central to the tune's feel, but this time it's more frenetic and angular.

Bassist Jerome Harris' warm and organic sound pervades the album. Harris—who has played both bass and guitar in Sonny Rollins' bands—favors the electro-acoustic bass guitar—unusual for jazz—and this helps to give his playing its distinctiveness. But it's his feel for the underlying emotion of the tunes, his ability to heighten these emotions without intruding on them, which is invaluable. His simple but expressive opening lines on "Himalayas" set up the mood of the tune and his upper register playing during his solo readily conjures up images of jagged mountain peaks.

Some of the finest moments on Trapeze Project arise when Wilson sings. Her voice, like her trumpet playing, has a melancholy edge and there is a fragility to it that heightens rather than diminishes its effectiveness. The sound is by no means a standard jazz sound—it's much more akin to Americana-style singers such as Laura Veirs or Hem's wonderful Sally Ellyson.

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" is one of the great songs of failed relationships—a classic song by late-70s post-punk band Joy Division. The lyricist, Ian Curtis, was almost certainly telling of the breakdown of his own marriage—only a few months after Joy Division recorded the song, Curtis committed suicide. The members of the band all perform with admirable restraint and understanding, but Harris' sparse, tight bass and Wilson's voice are key to this version's slow and beautiful sadness.

Wilson's own composition, "From the River," is a more upbeat song. There is still a sadness but the tune is brighter, more celebratory, as Wilson sings with great charm of the calmness and joy she gets, from the river. In a way, this song sums up Trapeze Project—reflective, a little nostalgic, melancholy but optimistic. A small gem of delight.

Track Listing: Blessing; She Stands in a Room; At Zebulon; Melancholy for Place; Himalayas; In Resonance Light Takes Place; Love Will Tear Us Apart; Underneath the Soil; Fall Has Arrived; Possibility; From the River; To New Orleans.

Personnel: Sarah Wilson: trumpet, vocals; Myra Melford: piano; Ben Goldberg: clarinet; Jerome Harris: bass; Scott Amendola: drums.

Title: Trapeze Project | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Brass Tonic

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Before Dawn" CD/LP/Track Review Before Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Mobiles Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Mobiles Vol. 1
by James Nadal
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Stage 'N Studio" CD/LP/Track Review Stage 'N Studio
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "My Picture" CD/LP/Track Review My Picture
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Music in the Room" CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read "when the shade is stretched" CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018