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Andrea Wolper: Wanderlust

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Andrea Wolper: Wanderlust
Itinerant creatives manifest in both literal and figurative terms. Yes, they most clearly present in true formal fashion, traveling from place to place, sharing their art wherever they may roam. But their venturesome virtues extend to the interior, too. In fact, what's often of the greatest importance and interest is the roving surrounding and propelling their work—exploration of narrow paths, walks through obscured alleys and hideaways, and time spent in secret sanctums that offer peace and space to think in new ways. It's that wanderlust that helps broaden and define an artist's vision, making for something forward-thinking and consistently fresh, and Andrea Wolper personifies that idea(l).

This noted vocalist has been letting the urge to move—forward and laterally, over there and everywhere—guide her throughout her career, and this highly expressive outing underscores that truth. Wanderlust—Wolper's fourth album, and her first in 13 years—offers a front-row seat to the act(ion) of investigative music-making. Working with an open-and like-minded group of musicians, including woodwind ace (and record co-producer) Jeff Lederer, violinist Charlie Burnham, pianist John di Martino, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Michael TA Thompson, this leader gives voice to the art of discovery in numerous ways.

With pliant pipes and a willingness to stretch the limits of an idea, Wolper serves as creator and catalyst on a program split between choice, reimagined covers and originals. The former category earns focus up front, with a loose-swinging yet pointed look at Ray Charles and Rick Ward's "Light Out of Darkness" and a ruminative balladic take on country songwriter Wayne Carson's "Dog Day Afternoon" (complete with Burnham's mood-matching violin work). Wolper broadens horizons—hers and ours—with sharp interpretive powers in that opening pairing, and also in what follows at intervals: A swaying and wholly seductive take on Abbey Lincoln's "The Music is the Magic," a mostly upbeat performance of Carole King's "Been to Canaan" and a Parnassian, semi-tempestuous reading of Sting's "I Burn for You."

Seven originals make up the balance of the program and highlight individuality from different angles. "Sobe e Desce," built on a baião groove and benefitting greatly from Lederer's flute flights, and "Eventide," a flowing guide through the gloaming hours, each present Wolper in fine wordless fashion. "Still Life," an observational gem concerned with all that changes but remains the same in the absence of a loved one, sets vocals against di Martino's sensitive piano. The trance trip of "The Nature of Love," with its avant-poetic flow and this-too-shall-pass stance, leaves a deep and lasting impression. "Nevermore," highlighting the Wolper/Filiano chemistry, casts mystical charms with a nod to Edgar Allan Poe. And the freely improvised "Cisluna" and standard-esque "The Winter of Our Content"—the album's departure music—offer two very different sides of the same skillful vocalist's coin. The seek-and-ye-shall-find sensibility fits Andrea Wolper like a glove, and Wanderlust bears that out for all to hear.

Track Listing

Light Out of Darknes; Dog Day Afternoon; Sobe e Desce; Still Life; The Music is the Magic; The Nature of Life; Been to Canaan; Nevermore; Eventide; I Burn For You; Cisluna; The Winter of Our Content.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Wanderlust | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Moonflower Music


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