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Quick and to the Point: Deserving jazz with a Brazilian unction.
Yearning is appropriately entitled and represented through the hands and intellect of Kerry Politzer. A yen to get down and just play –that is what she seems to be all about. One cannot be misled by the maternally peaceful and tender countenance offered in the cover as visual representation of her craft. She is a fiery player, even when the flames are tamed by early musical astuteness.
Politzer and friends do not waste a second luring you into a charged “Twist of Samba” upon which one meets a succinct punch of playful fingers twisting their way up and down the piano, as do Eric Rasmussen’s saxings. “Tug of War” is even more playful, only even more so as Pete Smith throws in a delightful performance. There is cool drive keeping the pocket from overheating in this tune as Politzer acts in response to Smith. After the somewhat diffused 6/8 backbeated breather entitled “A Wish,” with its engaged sense of relaxation, there comes “Revelation.” Therein, guitar and piano engage in a dousing prophetic uttering with the ever-present Brazilian unction that Politzer relishes and so willingly offers.
There is vocal support coloring “Yearning.” Although a panging yearn initiates this non-Brazilian incursion in other jazz depths, it is soon evident that Politzer’s longings are not depressively pensive. Energetic initiative flows through everyone’s sayings, including the welcome incursion of Howard Britz in the bass. Politzer ought to pursue these musical routings furthermore... Much more...
Back to Brazilian domained jazz, “Begin the Baião” is a scrumptious canapé served on a Classical sauce condimented with Brazil and jazz, accompanied by two appetizing drinks: a Politzer and a Rasmussen. “Ansiedade” can get necks rapidly in chiropractic care if enraptured by its pulse. Piano and guitar once again swirl around each other only this time they are not alone and the support of Britz and Andrea Valentini’s drumming always shines.
In “Saida” the pace slows and majesty invites herself into the gig. One could foresee this tune as background for a classy radio show on any number of topics. Britz’s beautiful plucked lines are quite enjoyable as he feels at ease soloing under Politzer's leadership. This is an elegant tune where the Brazilian undercurrent is understated in comparison with the dominant repertoire of this recording, furthering along the way one’s appetite for a straight-ahead work from Politzer. The not so hidden influence of Brazil is more evident, conversely, on “Hidden Influence” where Rasmussen takes a significant early lead not ceded until Politzer keys a sprint of her own. As all tunes in this recording, this one features an engaging arrangement.
“Aardvark” allows more abstracted views to become known, albeit not dwelling in Brazil. This pocketed performance gives Politzer the chance to burn hotter than anywhere else in Yearning. This is a great treatment of the mainstream in jazz in which Valentini finally features her chops. “Piece for Charlie” closes this well produced recording with Politzer in the piano closing in peaceful strength.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.