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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CD Review: Norma Winstone – Dance Without Answer

Norma Winstone  - voice; Klaus Gesing – bass clarinet  & soprano saxophone; Glauco Venier – piano.
(Review by Debra Milne).
This unique  trio have worked together for more than a decade, and their  strong musical  bonds are evident in the newly released 4th album Dance Without  Answer,  recorded  in December 2012 in Lugano, Italy.  The first and title track  builds with the  rounded  tones of Gesing’s bass clarinet contrasting  with  the light  touch of Venier on piano and  Winstone   provides a typically considered  lyric  to  this and  several other  compositions.
Her subtle, expressive  delivery  is particularly effective   in Tomas Mendez’ ‘Cucurrucucu Paloma’,  capturing the quiet anguish of loneliness.   ‘Higher  Plane’   provides an uplifting change of mood,  with  rhythmic, low toned piano and flowing soprano sax, and Winstone & Gesing  combine well with  scat and sax interchanges and harmonies. 
There is an eclectic choice of material from other artists, with an unexpected gem uncovered in  Madonna’s  ‘Live To Tell’.  The duet of Tom Wait’s ‘San Diego Serenade’  also stands out , with Winstone’s swinging  lyric  supported by Gesing’s rhythmic  bass clarinet.  Fans of Nick Drake may particularly appreciate the obscure ‘Time of No Reply’  (recorded , but not used, in his ‘Five Leaves Left’ sessions). ‘A Tor A Tor’, an Italian nursery rhyme adapted by Venier, again highlights the  musical sympathy shared by the trio , and  their  triangulation creates  a feeling of space allowing for  some delightful  musical interchanges. 
Hearing  the  trio  live  would surely be compelling, but despite  this album’s release,  there seems to be only 2 performances scheduled in 2014 – in Merhauzen, Germany in March and in Lisbon, Portugal in May – so this  fine recording will have to do.
Norma Winstone – Dance Without Answer is now available on ECM.
Debra M.

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