Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson

Jane Ira Bloom

Outline Records, 2017

http://www.janeirabloom.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/25/2018

A saxophone enthusiast since the age of nine, Jane Ira Bloom's devotion to the instrument led her to being the first musician commissioned by the NASA Art Program. A Grammy nomination in 2013 and having an asteroid named after her are certainly nothing to spit at either. On this double CD release, Bloom reimagines Emily Dickinson's poetry with Dawn Clement on piano, Mark Helias on bass, Bobby Previte behind the drum kit, and actress Deborah Rush (my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Orange Is The New Black) providing the spoken word.

Disc one offers up the instrumental portion. Highlights include Previte's drum acrobatics on tunes like “Mind Gray River” and the mallet heavy “Alone & In A Circumstance.” Clement's contributions on piano are often subtle, though on the playful and frisky offerings like “Singing The Triangle” she's near the forefront, and the swift “One Note From One Bird” further highlights her talents.

Bloom's saxophone, is, of course, what many of the tunes are built around, but she lets her band shine in their own right within each composition. Songs like the quick “Wild Lines,” though just 90 seconds, showcases everyone's strengths, while the bluesy, introspective closer “It's Easy To Remember” is just Bloom doing what she does best with her art. The shining moment of the album is hands down the memorable grooves and melodies of the collaborative effort “Big Bill.”

The second disc is nearly identical in song titles, but it has Deborah Rush at the helm as she recites poetry and prose. The songs on this disc are generally longer, sometimes a bit more adventurous, as Rush's crisp, soft voice lightly contribute a verse here and there.

At nearly two hours long, there's much to ingest here, but one doesn't need to be a jazz enthusiast to appreciate the sophistication and beauty that soars, swings, and radiates.

Rating: B

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