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Sunday, October 21, 2012

CD Review:Julian Shore - Filaments.


Julian Shore – piano; Kurt Rosenwinkel – guitar; Jeff Miles – guitar; Alexa Barchini – vocal; Shelly Tzarafi – vocal; Phil Donkin – bass; Tommy Crane – drums; Noah Preminger – tenor sax; and others.
(Review by Debra M.)
Filaments is the second album by American pianist Julian Shore, recorded in Brooklyn following collaboration with a number of New York based jazz musicians, including vocalists Alexa Barchini & Shelly Tzarafi.  
The opening Grey Light, Green Lily provides a good insight into the nature of the ensemble, with the melodic line provided by vocals and guitar in unison, whilst the remainder of the group get established with lively interchanges. 
Alexa Barchini wrote lyrics for the second track, Made Very Small, as well as Whisper and Misdirection/Determined. She has a honeyed tone, which is a little breathy in the higher registers.  However, her vocals are distinctive and atmospheric, and her concise lyrics convey a depth of emotion, which is particularly effective in Whisper, a song of unrequited love. 
The album builds up nicely to the most dynamic track Give, which starts with an acapella harmonic chant joined by drums, keyboard and bass and Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar. The drummer, Tommy Crane, drives the tempo, and plays a great solo against a repeating horn & keyboard groove, finishing it off unobtrusively with a stylish drum fade out. The subsequent 2 tracks provide contrast, first with an excellent piano trio I Will If You Will, featuring a solo from bassist Phil Donkin, and then with a piano vocal duo on Like A Shadow. The ensemble is then joined by tenor sax man Noah Preminger on Venus, who provides a gentle interpretation interspersed with rapid flurries of activity. Finally, there is a refrain of Whisper by Kurt Ozan on acoustic guitar and dobro, a not unwelcome afterthought to a rather good album of contemporary jazz. Next time you're in NYC be sure to look out for Julian Shore and his friends.
Debra M.

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