131

Simin Tander: Wagma

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Simin Tander: Wagma Vocal improvisation rarely strays far from scat, so it's something worth celebrating when a voice emerges with a distinct vocabulary. Afghan/German singer/composer Simin Tander is such a voice, and her debut is an intriguing offering of compositions sung in English, Spanish and her own, striking improvisations. Backed by a piano-led jazz trio which is both sympathetically supportive and subtly dynamic, Tander's instantly appealing voice, and uncommon approach to vocal jazz—within a modern jazz quartet setting—makes for compelling listening.

"Shadowprints"—one of three numbers sung in her entirely improvised language— begins with Jeroen Van Vilet's simple piano motif, Cord Heineking's somber double bass and Etienne Nillesen's atmospheric mallets. Tander's delivery is satisfyingly melodic on a song which creeps up slyly in potency, with Van Vilet adding minimalist electronics. There's a stripped-down sound to the quartet, and a sense of less is more. Tander instinctively knows when to lay out and leave more space for her colleagues, and in doing so maximizes the impact of her own interventions. The bass is mostly a presence felt rather than heard, with the quartet's urgency suggested mainly by the interaction between piano and drums and vocals.

It's difficult to discern influences in Tander, though her improvisations on the vibrant "Becoming" recall Korean jazz singer Youn Sun Nah. On the cantering title track and "Gallery of Remembrance," Tander's playful, exuberant created language evokes Portuguese jazz singer Maria Joao. While Tander has a less striking range than either Sun Nah or Joao, her undeniably beautiful voice shares the soul-laid-bare intimacy and honesty of both singers. Tander's approach is more minimalist, and her bewitching vocal on a near-whispered "Windmills of Your Mind" points to her originality every bit as much as her free-wheeling improvisations.

There are enough moments of urgent playing in line with more traditional jazz, with Van Vliet matching classically-tinged lyricism with quite animated, adventurous runs. Tander's interaction with drums on "Gallery of Remembrance" provides pure excitement, and overall, there is a nicely weighted ebb and flow in the music's intensity. Whatever the context, the trio does a great job in supporting and framing Tander's vocals. The graceful vocals receive lyrical coloring from the trio, whereas the more abstract, spoken-word "Purity" is carried on a dreamy bed of washing cymbals and softly padding drums. Tander's ethereal, yearning voice on "Closed Eyes" is supported by ripples of piano and slightly trippy, though understated electronics.

Enchanting too, Tander's take on Puerto Rican balladeer Pedro Flores' ode to love, "Obsesión." The singer's Spanish vocal is full of the aching and desire that the lyrics demand. There's also a dreamy interpretation of singer Nick Drake's "River Man;" a lovely earthiness emanates from Heineking's bass, in beautiful tandem with Tander, as the singer caresses the words in soothing incantation.

Tander brings refreshing innovation to a modern jazz vocal panorama awash with repetition and weary imitation. Her voice is a thing of beauty, and this debut not only offers the promise of great things to come, but delivers from the get go.

Track Listing: Shadowprint; Becoming; The Windmills of Your Mind; White Hiatus; Obsesión; Wagma; Closed Eyes; Purity; Gallery of Remembrance; River Man.

Personnel: Personnel: Simin Tander: vocals; Jeroen van Vliet: piano and electronics; Etienne Nillesen: drums; Cord Heineking: bass.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Neuklang Records | Style: Vocal


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "The Only Way To Float Free" CD/LP/Track Review The Only Way To Float Free
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Esse" CD/LP/Track Review Esse
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Inner Agent" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Agent
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

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!