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Saturday, February 18, 2017

CD Review: Beata Pater - Fire Dance

Beata Pater (vocals, producer); Alex Danson (composer); Sam Newsome (sop sax); Anton Schwartz (ten sax); Aaron Lington (bar sax); Scott Collard (keys); Aaron German (bass); Alan Hall (drums); Brian Rice (perc).
(Review by Ann Alex)
I was prepared to be disappointed by this music which was described as wordless vocals, ‘pushing the envelope of vocal artistry’.  There was also a very wordy enclosure describing the music, which is sometimes a bad sign, but the music turned out to be absolutely delightful. Ms Pater and Alex Danson the composer have come up with fully integrated, interesting, tuneful, well thought out music, much of it influenced by eastern folk elements, but still suitable to be called jazz, perhaps world jazz would be an appropriate term. Listeners shouldn’t be put off by the track titles; Curse Of The Locusts; Daylight Saving; Sand Dunes; Harvest Season; Fire Dance; The Princess; Round Dance; Flashback; The Quest; Reaping Spell; Ritual. There is a loose narrative feel to the whole work.
The voice is one of the instruments of the band, often in the lead, and enhanced by multi-tracking, so the vocals are not scat at all, but are a well-integrated part of the whole. There is a rhythmic thrust which is influenced by North African and Eastern European music.  Curse of the Locusts opens with jungle-like drums, then a staccato vocal, a jazz tune moving along well, then the saxes enter, sounding a bit like insects, and the track ends with a kind of resolution with pleasing overdubbed voices. Harvest Season has a peasant dance rhythm, full of joy; The Princess is a drifting, dreamy piece, lots of keys soloing, followed by a very free falling soprano sax. Flashback gives us a drone, eastern sounding vocals, shakers on the percussion, rounded off with jazzy keys. Reaping Spell has constant repetition, like the spell, and Ritual is layered, punchy and vocal driven. The instrumentalists are all well up to the mark.
This is Ms Pater’s fifth album – her previous work has been mostly re-imagined jazz standards, and after hearing this album, I’d guess that the previous CDs are well worth the listening.
Fire Dance is available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby from February 28.
Also on B&B Records, Cat no. BB0421  See www.beatapater.com    
Ann Alex

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