You can read 19 more articles this month
Lena Bloch and Feathery
(Fresh Sound New Talent)
A HAUNTING lyrical beauty pours from the tenor saxophone of Lena Bloch and on her latest album she is joined by a trio of deeply empathetic veterans — double bassist Cameron Brown, drummer Billy Mintz and pianist Russ Lossing — to create a unified sound of powerful musical artistry. Together, they make up the aptly named quartet Feathery.
Such is the kinship of jazz that a Russian-Jewish saxophonist should blow a tribute to one of her teachers, black Muslim genius Yusuf Lateef.
Lateef Suite is part-threnody, part-celebration of the pioneering internationalist, with Bloch’s soft tones and Lossing’s more strident notes prefacing the entry of Cameron’s deep and sonorous bassline.
His solo bass is an earth-bound tribute in itself and Lossing’s keys invoke the drums of all continents.
There’s a poise and serenity in Bloch’s opening notes on title track Heart Knows, with Brown digging deep again and Lossing’s fingers creating a paean to love, alongside Mintz’s whispering brushes.
“Three treasures” are what Bloch calls her bandmates and this is her homage to them, punctuated by Mintz’s incessant strikes as her melody rises and soars.
French Twist, a Lossing original, is based on Bach’s French Suite in D Minor and it shows the breadth of musical history that these four musicians encompass. The piano, alone and inventive, begins before a breathy and tender Bloch enters, while Brown’s mollifying bass takes on a deep and gentle timbre that expresses a lifetime’s quest for beauty in the halls of jazz. The centuries and their genres and categories suddenly count for nothing.
Esmeh is the Farsi for “name” and its theme has a Persian lilt. It’s a direct reminder of Duke Ellington’s Isfahan from his Far East Suite but it’s more upbeat, with some brilliant Lossing and Bloch’s soft swing as akin to sax legend Lee Konitz as she reaches on the album.
Counter Clockwise, another Lossing composition, has the ruminative notes of Bloch’s horn sounding like tears falling, while submerged evocations of invasion and war emerge through Bloch’s Munir, a tribute to Iraqi oud virtuoso Munir Bashir. The quartet play insightfully throughout the track, particularly the luminous Lossing.
The album ends with Newfoundsong, another Lossing original, which is his soundscape of the Canadian province. Brown’s subliminal bass at its very human heart and Bloch’s notes are almost visual in their portraiture.
It completes a constantly surprising and engrossing album of superb musicianship.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.