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Bebop Spoken There

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13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Sunday, October 09, 2016

CD Review: Kayle Brecher - This Is Life

(Review by Ann Alex).
There isn’t much biographical information included with this CD, except to say that the musicians have various music qualifications, eg  Sutin has a degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and the high standard of playing is obvious to the listener anyway. The basic idea of the disc was to convey a sense of intimacy, with a mixture of original songs, standards, and what are labelled as ‘re-envisioning’ of numbers such as Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay’ (Brecher has added lyrics); Herbie Hancock’s Dolphin Dance (this has become Sea Of Dolphins with lyrics added); and a scatted arrangement of Egberto Gismonti’s Moon Dreams. 
I enjoyed especially hearing the harp as a jazz instrument, trilling out jazz sounds wonderfully, and I mean the harp with strings, as in Wales, not another name for the mouthorgan. Brecher’s  voice is fine, with a ‘cute ‘ sound for lighter pieces and more depth when serious, and she gives lots of space in which the instruments can do their stuff.
However, I had mixed feelings about the disc as a whole, as much of the material has been improvised and it has gone a bit too far out for my taste. The voice and the band seemed to be at odds sometimes, eg Back To The Red Clay sounds ‘messy’ at the beginning, with too much scat, too few meaningful lyrics, then a rock feel which didn’t seem to fit, and the piece was a bit too long.  In fact on some of the tracks, I’d have preferred no singing at all as the instruments conveyed the music well without any additions. 
On the track Life Is Just Rhythm, for voice and drums only, there simply wasn’t enough actual rhythm and the lyrics were too complex to be effective as a song. Some tracks were better, such as the exciting Not Alone (good harp, guitar solo, ‘cute’ vocal quality) and Wild Child (wildish music, random sounding, voice used as an instrument with call and response with the other instruments). The titles of the rest of the tracks were: African Dream; Torch To Hand; and The Gift.
The CD is currently available on Penchant Four Records
Ann Alex.
Kayle Brecher (vocals); Ratzo Harris (bass); Frank Butrey (guitar); Grant Calvin Weston (drums); Brandee A Younger (harp); Gloria Galante (harp on other tracks); Benjamin Sutin (violin); Dave Dzubinski (piano); Matt Cappy (trumpet) Not all instruments play on all tracks.

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