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If John the Baptist was supposed to be the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah, then Natalie Cressman is certainly the same for Jack Teagarden. Both sing and play trombone, and that is all that's required for a spiritual connection. Cressman's debut, Unfolding, sports a crazy "Honeysuckle Rose" and a slew of fine originals. Equally capable as a vocalist and trombonist, Cressmanbest-known these days as a member of Phish's touring band brass sectionis also quite the decent arranger, favoring brass choral introductions not unlike fellow vocalist/trombonist Henry Darragh.
Cressman is fearless in her conquering of bassist Charles Mingus' elegy to saxophonist Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." Cressman adopts the lyrics penned by Joni Mitchell's for the singer/songwriter's Mingus (Asylum, 1979), but completely and cleverly re-orchestrates the song. Introducing the piece with brass counterpoint, Cressman proceeds to vocally navigate the craggy harmony, lyrics and time of this challenging composition. Her voice is pitched well and even through the mid-range, giving the song a certain noir cast. Her arrangement turns the song into a chamber piece with solid momentum and appeal. A sweet deal.
Personnel: Natalie Cressman: trombone, vocals; Ivan Rosenberg: trumpet; Chad
Lefkowitz-Brown: tenor saxophone; Pascal Le Boeuf: piano; Ruben Samama:
acoustic bass; jake Goldbas: drums, percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.