Style: Jazz Vocal
Label: Jazz Project
Musicians: Ran Blake - piano; Dominique Eade - voice.
|Pianist Ran Blake & Composer/improviser/lyricist Dominique Eade|
Eade's artistic bona fides are imposing. For those who may not be properly apprised of this brilliant artist's vast accomplishments, and rarity of talent, a brief perusal of her resume might prove invaluable. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory, with time spent at Vassar and the Berklee College of Music. She was the first jazz artist to be accepted into the NEC Artist Diploma Program, studying for two years with bassist/composer/bandleader Dave Holland and pianist Stanley Cowell.
Eade released her first CD in 1990 (The Ruby and the Pearl), featuring drummer Alan Dawson and pianist Stanley Cowell. Since then, she has produced four other CDs, (My Resistance Is Low: 1994; When The Wind Was Cool: 1997; Long Way Home: 1998; Open: 2006). She has performed to immense acclaim at several prominent jazz clubs in New York City, notably: The Village Gate; The five Spot; Birdland; Visiones; and Cornelius Street Cafe. She has made extensive tours of the US and Europe. She currently lives in Boston with her husband, saxophonist Alan Chase, and two sons Julian and Stephen.
Pianist Ran Blake describes Eade by saying that "her voice was full of as many surprises as most horn players." She unveils some of these surprises in the opening track, Victor Young/Ned Washington's (My Foolish Heart). The Boston Phoenix sums up her singing style by extolling: "Eade's vocal control and imagination are peerless." This compliment also might be extended to Blake's playing on the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer standard (Dearly Beloved), where he establishes a defectless accompaniment to Eade's ample vocal register, and which is in evidence throughout the date as he provides the contrasting background for the range, beauty and control of Eade's voice to be suffused.
Eade shows careful attention to the lyric and consummate wit in her music selections. She has chosen popular songs and standards by venerated composers that contain an 'underneath' story, while simultaneously endowing the date with warm familiarity and accessibility. She discloses a wide range of musical tastes, but more than that, she reveals herself as an interpreter who "knows" the lyrics and the story "underneath." She engages Russ Freeman's cimmerian (The Wind), turns her vocal collar up against the icy chords of Blake's piano musings, and delivers a shivering film noir annotation that squeezes every dark emotion out of the reading of the lyric. Then, with the stealth of darkness pivoting toward light, she transforms her composition (Go Gently to the Water) into a limpid pool of pristine gentleness reflecting the nuanced reaction of the folk singer; allowing a glimpse into the far reaches of an expansive talent.
Whether Eade swings delightfully, assisted by an engaging, dynamic Blake piano solo (Old Devil Moon), improvises without words (Pinky), is angular and uneven (Falling), or sings the melody with exactness devoid of improvisation (Where Are You), she does not over reach or fall back on histrionics, instead she achieves palpable emotive effect through stunning voice compliance, while Blake's piano remains sensitive to, and fills in the intricate harmonic details with astuteness and rhythmic deftness that spring from an experiential ocean of ideas stretching over half a century. Eade constantly surprises; always finds the medium to excite; re-interprets each song with a "new intuitive jazz voice" (Out of this World; The Thrill is Gone), borne of extensive training, sustained hard work, making sensible choices in career opportunities, letting the chips fall where they may, and some very good luck.
"Whirlpool" presents jazz in its purest, most elemental form. Eade and Blake succeed on all levels. Eade to a large extent, has benefited from early, vital mentoring from Ran Blake, who in turn was mentored by composer/conductor/historian/author/jazz musician Gunther Schuller, the person who coined the term "Third Stream," to describe music that combines classical and jazz techniques. Eade also has helped herself considerably to develop immaculate "chops" by working with a stellar line up of other pianists: Stanley Cowell, Fred Hersch, Donald Brown, Bruce Barth, John Modeski, Kevin Hayes, and Larry Goldings.
Dominique Eade and Ran Blake on "Whirlpool" exquisitely reprise the uncommon magic of the 'cool' post-bebop era jazz heard in the brilliant work of pianist/composer Dave Brubeck, and revered instrumentalist Paul Desmond.
Track Listing: My Foolish Heart; Dearly Beloved; The Wind; Go Gently to the Water; Old Devil Moon; Pinky; Falling; Where Are You; Out of this World; The Pawnbroker; Dearly Beloved; The Thrill is Gone; After the Ball.
Recorded at Rear Window Recording Studios, Brookline, MA
Recording Engineer: Nate Dube
Assistant Engineer: Eric Oligney
Mixed and mastered by Alan Mattes
WGBH Studios, Brighton MA