Feb 26, 2011
The soprano sax gets a bad rap these days, and I confess to being one person who finds it being overused. The result is music that comes across as whiny, rather than plaintive, at times. Sometimes it's just cliched.
However, in the hands of Jane Ira Bloom, the soprano sax is a vital, often illuminating instrument. Her latest CD, Wingwalker, can swing, bop, be contemplative and be romantic, sometimes all within one tune.
Listen to “Life on Cloud 8”. Pianist Dawn Clement sets the tone, and drummer Bobby Previte and bassist Mark Helias are ready and able to subtly lay down a groove for Ms. Bloom. Her solos are long and graceful, and she works in and around the beat. Sometimes she’s Monk-like, other times spiraling like Coltrane. It’s wonderful jazz, and Ms. Clements’ tasty piano solo only adds to it.
I enjoy this collection of tunes far more than her World Music-tinged releases, and her electronic work. Maybe it’s the time she got to spend on the material while enjoying her recent Guggenheim Fellowship, or maybe it’s re-uniting with Ms. Clement and Mr. Previte. In any event, by the time she closes the CD with a solo version of Lerner & Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night”, the listener knows they’ve been in the hands of a master.