Hailing from Seattle, Brooklyn-based instrumentalist Jessica Lurie performs on alto sax, flute, accordion and sings. Her influences range from John Zorn, Gillian Welch, Ornette Coleman, Brandi Carlyle to Klezmer and Balkan melodies, Cuban accents and the classical music of her father and the funk of Sly and the Family Stone.
With MEGAPHONE HEART, her newest recording, composer and multi-instrumentalist JESSICA LURIE and her Ensemble are poised between creative jazz, rock, folk and avant-garde music, generating a luscious and compelling sea of sound. An adventurous musical spirit shines through ten original compositions, with Lurie’s unmistakable big sound on tenor and alto saxes, flute, and her distinctive voice. Inspired by life in Brooklyn, traveling the world, and her love of American and international melodies and rhythms, this is her strongest collection of songs yet.
With skill and discipline borne from her-life long dedication to music composition and improvisation, Lurie creates a pulsing, brimming, expansive sound. Joined by an ensemble of stellar musicians, she barrels across uncharted territories where jazz, folk, chaos and beauty all come out to play. MEGAPHONE HEART is Lurie’s second CD co-produced by bassist Todd Sickafoose.
Jessica composes for and performs and records worldwide with the Jessica Lurie Ensemble as well as several groups including the Tiptons Sax Quartet (formerly the Billy Tipton Memorial Sax Quartet), The Living Daylights Trio, La Buya. and Romeo Studs. Jessica has performed, toured or recorded with international artists such as Bill Frisell, The Indigo Girls, Danijel Zezelj, Amy Denio, Zemog, Vinicio Caposella, Mark Ribot, Marty Erhlich, Roy Nathanson, Carlo Actis Dato, Skerik, Mike Clark, Allison Miller, The Pat Grainey Dance Company, Eyvind Kang, Wayne Horvitz, Booker Washington Jr., Leo Neocentelli, Paul McCandless, Calvin Weston, Sleater Kinney, Ellen Fullman & Pauline Oliveros, The Shakin' Ray Levis Society, NYC's Circus Amok, Frank London, Kenny Wolleson, Jenny Scheinman, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, James Blood Ulmer Trio, Les Claypool, Nels Cline, MMW, The Berkeley Symphony and NYC' s Great Small Works theatre company among others.
The JLE has been featured at: The Canadian Music Festival, SXSW, NOIR fest, Comix Salon Erlangen,The Zagreb Animateka Festival, Pisa Instabile Festival, Motovun Film Festival, Babel Arts festival, Earwing No Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, CMJ Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot International Music Festival, and the Earshot Jazz Festival. Her latest CD Shop of Wild Dreams (2009) has been reviewed and acclaimed in All About Jazz (NY and Italy), Jazziz, Jazz Times, Downbeat, Chicago Jazz Magazine, The New Yorker, Jambase and the International Review of Music. She and her groups Living Daylights and The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet are featured in the new jazz documentary Icons Among Us (2009).
Erik Deustch - Piano, Electronic Keyboards
Allison Miller - Drums & Percussion
Brandon Seabrook - Banjo, Guitar
Todd Sickafoose - Bass
Megaphone Heart/JLE April 2012
Shop of Wild Dreams/JLE Jan 2009; Laws of Motion, Tiptons nov. 2008; Licorice & Smoke, Zipa Music, Nov. 2005; DRIVE, The Tiptons Sax Quartet, Zipa/Spoot Music, Oct 2005; This Is What It's Like To Be, Andrew Drury/Jessica Lurie Duo, Zipa/Andrew Drury Music , May 2005; Tsunami TheTiptons Sax Quartet, Zipa!Music/Spoot Music, 2004; Brainstun 2, Brainstun, Present Sounds Recordings, 2003; Short Cuts, The Tiptons, 2003; Night of The Living Daylights, Living Daylights 2003; Good For Babies, Sheqer 2003
!ZIPA BUKA!, The Jessica Lurie Ensemble, Zipa!Music, 2002; School of One, Jessica Lurie & Will Dowd Duo, Zipa!Music, 2002; Three Hits Compilation, featuring Living Daylights, Luan Records, 2001; Electric Rosary, Living Daylights, Liquid City Records, 2000 ; Sunshine Bundtcake, The Billy Tipton Memorial Sax Quartet (BTMSQ), Horn Hut Records, 2000; Motor Bison Serenade, Zipa!Music, 2000; La Luce Azzurra, Jessica Lurie & Metroplizani, Zipa!Music 1999;
500 lb. Cat, Living Daylights, Liquid City, 1998; Pollo d'Oro, BTMSQ and Ne Zhdali, No Man’s Land Records 1998; BOX, BTMSQ, New World Records, 1996;
Falling Down Laughing, Living Daylights, Liquid City Records, 1995; Imperfect World, Living Daylights, Imperfect Music, 1994; make it funky god, BTMSQ, Horn Hut Records, 1994; Sax House, BTMSQ, Knitting Factory Works, 1992
Megaphone Heart 4.5 stars from DOWNBEAT May 2012
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Jessica Lurie Ensemble Megaphone Heart Zipa ! Music 2012 HHHH 1/2 Before reading anything about ...Jessica Lurie Ensemble
Zipa ! Music 2012
Before reading anything about this music from
the attached press release, my first thoughts were
about how Megaphone Heart is full of stories.
This was true as much for the instrumentals as
for the songs with lyrics. Multi-instrumentalist
Jessica Lurie and her ensemble have put together
one hell of a program. Sure enough, it turns out it
is chock full of stories.
Bassist/co-producer Todd Sickafoose has
helped make for a sonic atmosphere that’s full,
fat even, ripe with all manner of instrumental combinations. The music evokes many images,
dreams and times, as when a kind of latterday
Jethro Tull emerges with the thoroughly
arranged yet free-flowing “A Million Pieces All
In One.” Lurie’s piercing flute and catchy vocals
contrast with guitarist Brandon Seabrook’s snappy
banjo playing, the band driven from behind
by drummer Allison Miller’s tasteful clobbering.
The title track also shares some of Seabrook’s
varied banjo playing, this time with more expressive
Lurie vocals but at a slower, more measured
pace—the banjo giving the music an almost
19th-century vibe. The backstory to this song
is about love, loss and death, and you can hear
Lurie’s autobiography not just in the lyrics but in
how she orchestrates everything, the moods of
the music changing to reflect change in life itself.
It’s too bad the CD doesn’t include Lurie’s
comments on each of the songs, which refer to
actual stories. The stories are as diverse as the
music, ranging from a 2008 flood that invaded
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (“Once”), love and longing
(“Zasto,” “Same Moon”) to a Balkan-inspired
rock piece in 11/8 that has as an inspiration
Macedonian reed player Ferus Mustafov.
Megaphone Heart: Steady Drum; A Million Pieces All In One; Bells;
Megaphone Heart; Same Moon; Maps; Der Nister; Zasto; Boot
Heels; Once. (57:42)
Personnel: Jessica Lurie, alto, tenor, baritone saxophones, flute,
voice, megaphones; Brandon Seabrook, guitar, banjo, tape recorder;
Erik Deutsch, piano, electric piano, organ; Todd Sickafoose, acoustic
bass; Allison Miller, drums, percussion; Marika Hughes, cello
AMN Review: Jessica Lurie Ensemble – Megaphone Heart (Zipa!)
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Jessica Lurie is a jazz dervish well on her way to spinning into a major New York City attraction....
Jessica Lurie is a jazz dervish well on her way to spinning into a major New York City attraction. A dynamic saxophonist with an accordion hanging from her neck and a few strings and winds in the satchel slung over her shoulder, she leads this ensemble, co-founded the Tiptons Saxophone Quartet, and is a standing member of four more groups including La Buya and Sheqer, which specialize in Latin and Balkan tunes, respectively.
Her eponymous Ensemble has been around for about a decade now and introduces itself on its latest studio offering like it was handpicked by Kurt Weill, especially when the banjo of Brandon Seabrook bounces off the piano of Erik Deutsch. But they´re only getting warmed up. The group has no one style; rather, they come across as jacks of all trade and masters of each. It is personality that unifies their sound. Thematicallly, the Ensemble range all over the great big American mainland, conjuring cowboys, cool cats and immigrants. Hebrew sax glossolalia and a jam named after the great Yiddish modernist writer Der Nister is contrasted with meandering tales with the colour and tone of Celtic home counties recalled generations later by an Appalachian oldtimer. A few tracks are as angular and pushy as a New York City subway ride.
The production is round and full, separating Lurie, Seabrook, Deutsch, acoustic bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Allison Miller with just the right amount of distance to showcase their individual brilliance and collective cohesiveness. Jessica´s voice is in fine form, too, especially on the seductively restless country blues “Maps”, which opens up in the middle for a terrific guitar solo by Seabrook, who later is joyfully abrasive brushing up against Lurie´s saxophone on “Boot Heels”. And what a lovely, sad closer the ballad “Once” makes.
“Shop of Wild Dreams”, the quintet´s previous album, is equally entertaining. Like a talented theatre improv group, they can craft something meaningful out of whatever you throw at them – lounge, dance, smoke, laugh as you are tossed head-first into the weird flute and synth tango of “Grinch” after having gotten all misty over the chilly but soulful “Grey Ocean”. Wined, dined and undermined, the Jessica Lurie Ensemble leaves your head spinning, your ears pleasantly stuffed and your expectations defied and surpassed.
CD Review: Jessica Lurie Ensemble Megaphone Heart
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Jessica Lurie Ensemble Megaphone Heart (Zipa! Music) www.jessicalurie.com Jessica Lurie's name ...Jessica Lurie Ensemble
(Zipa! Music) www.jessicalurie.com
Jessica Lurie's name showed up on my radar in the mid '90s when she played in the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet. Named for a band leader whose true gender was only discovered upon death (she has lived most of her live as a man, which allowed her to lead bands at that time when it was virtually impossible to be a female band leader) the group that honored her played pieces that spanned danceable ethnic styles to freer pieces and tone poems. Lurie, who plays alto, tenor and baritone saxophones as well as flute, continues in a newer version of that group now known simply as the Tiptons Saxophone Quartet, and has performed with everyone from Bill Frisell to Chuck D and the Indigo Girls.
Still, it was surprise to hear vocals taking the focus on the opening songs of Megaphone Heart. Not that she's a slack in the pipes department, but with all those horns listed next to her name in the credits, one might think this is going to be more of a saxophone album.
Lurie has a bit of the singer-songwriter bug in her too, and it keeps the expectations surprised as she makes her way through the album. Brandon Seabrook adds his guitar and banjo to the music, offering necessary roughness when needed or adding some frenetic banjo strums that bridge the gap between traditional Eastern European colors and modern skronk. Keyboardist Erik Deutsch plays electric and acoustic pianos and organ, the latter making a delightfully weird partner with Seabrook in the Balkan-flavored "Boot Heels," where cheesy organ and distorted axe trade licks. Bassist Todd Sickafoose (who also co-produces) and drummer Allison Miller round the group in a tight manner, and cellist Marika Hughes adds extra depth on three tracks.
The opening sequence of the 58-second "Steady Drum" into the full-blown "A Million Pieces All in One" bears a sound that makes the group sound like they could back up Tom Waits on a current tour. Lurie's sings without any rasp, of course, but her mid-range voice has a striking quality here, especially when it's punctuated by the horns. The pensive title track has more ethereal power too, capturing the longing expressed in the lyrics, and the musicians build to an extended, noisy coda that's worth every second.
The whole disc alternates vocal tracks and instrumentals. Some of the former don't quite measure up to the above entries. The bluesy "Maps" and the meditative "Once" are fine songs although they rely a little much on lyrical metaphors often heard in songs dealing with relationships and changes in the landscape. Her inspirations for "Once" - a flood in Iowa and memories of how Lurie's parents planted corn in their Seattle yard to block out their neighbors - sounds more interesting than the song, which gets marred a little further by some Joni-esque trills toward the end.
Although she plays three saxes, Lurie's alto seems to be her main instrument, taking leads while the others embellish more. Her tone is strong and diverse, crisp and direct in some places, gruff and growling in others. She and Hughes create a strong texture in "Zasto" and the leader gets some good time to stretch out in the jaunty "Bells."
Megaphone Heart comes across as one of those albums that doesn't fit comfortably into one style. It's the kind of album that, for better or worse, some scribes will celebrate because it's "a little bit jazz, a little bit songwriter, a little bit Eastern European," etc. CBS Sunday Morning could have a field day with her. [That's not a criticism either, people. I'm giving you ideas.]
Unlike some albums that dabble in varieties like that - and despite what I said about a couple of the songs - Lurie can pull off all those styles without seeming like a dilettante. So much so that when on the second listen to the album, it made me think how challenging it can be to promote an album like this effectively.
Then I thought if Lurie really bothe
Jessica Lurie Megaphone Heart
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Hay que escuchar a la cabeza pero dejar hablar al corazón (Marguerite Yourcenar) El corazón ...Hay que escuchar a la cabeza pero dejar hablar al corazón (Marguerite Yourcenar)
El corazón –como todos sabemos- es un órgano de naturaleza muscular situado en la cavidad torácica que actúa como impulsor de la sangre a todo el cuerpo. No obstante, el término “corazón” también se ha infiltrado en un sinnúmero de nociones, actividades y elementos de uso cotidiano. A modo de ejemplo al azar, basta con citar que el corazón dio sentido al nacimiento de la cardiología y por ende a la existencia de los cardiólogos. Incluso resulta lógico suponer que en el caso de que alguien –después de años de estudios dedicados a cosas tales como la fisiología cardiovascular o patología y bioestadística cardíaca- descubriera que el corazón no existe… terminaría poco menos que al borde de un infarto. La forma del corazón es también la principal fuente de ingresos de quienes se dedican a fabricar y vender souvenires para el día de los enamorados, lo cual no está tan mal… De hecho me parece mucho más glamoroso y romántico regalar bombones en un estuche con formato de corazón que en uno que se asemeje al escroto, las glándulas salivales o el intestino grueso. La inexistencia del corazón generaría confusiones, dudas y múltiples cambios de comportamiento. Un fracaso sentimental, en lugar de destrozarnos el corazón, nos rompería los tímpanos, las gónadas o el bulbo raquídeo; ya no podría matarse a un vampiro clavándole una estaca en el corazón sino que deberíamos hacerlo en otro lugar de su anatomía y, en este momento, se me ocurre uno que puede resultar un poco desagradable para el ejecutor pero mucho más humillante para el vampiro. Las barajas francesas ya no tendrían 52 cartas repartidas en cuatro palos sino 39 divididas en tréboles, picas y diamantes; por lo tanto se puede inferir que para ganar en el póker con un royal flush de corazones harían falta un tahúr profesional de un lado y varios imbéciles del otro. Además ya no tendríamos corazonadas, no encontraríamos personas de buen corazón, ninguna situación nos obligaría “hacer de tripas corazón” o nos llevaría a vivir “con el corazón en la boca”; y para que Cupido nos conceda el amor, en lugar de atravesarnos el corazón con una flecha de oro tendría que invitarnos a tomar un café e hilvanar argumentos más o menos convincentes. En definitiva, sin corazón, nuestras vidas cambiarían drásticamente. Ya nada sería igual. Y se lo digo de corazón.
La humanidad ha utilizado al corazón de manera figurada para referirse al alma, el amor y los sentimientos; e, incluso, en la mayoría de las escrituras sagradas corresponde a la noción de centro y sirve –además- para designar la esencia de todas las cosas. El hinduismo considera al corazón como Brahmapura, la morada de Brahma y representa a la luz espiritual; en la tradición islámica es el trono de Dios y se asocia a la contemplación y la vida espiritual; para el cristianismo es el lugar en donde reside el Reino de Dios y, por ende, oficia como sede del amor supremo; en tanto que para el budismo, la perfección de la sabiduría sólo se alcanza cultivando mente y corazón a través de la meditación y la plena conciencia del presente en forma continua.
En las tradiciones seculares modernas el corazón se ha convertido en un símbolo de amor profano que engloba, por igual, conceptos muy heterogéneos sin necesidad de distinguirlos y que van desde la caracterización del corazón como una tercera potencia espiritual –pensamiento que el filósofo francés Blaise Pascal representara mediante su máxima “el corazón tiene razones que la razón no entiende”- hasta la ramplona frivolidad de los arquetipos románticos que pregonan las revistas de la farándula.
Lo cierto es que todos, de un modo natural, nos manifestamos proclives a escuchar los dictados de nuestro corazón para la toma de decisiones porque intuimos –como afirma Paulo Coehlo en El Alquimista- que para elegir un camino en la vida “basta con aprender a escuchar los dictados del corazón y a descifrar un l
Things We Like
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Luigi Santosuosso Reductio ad unum: questo mese due dischi e due musiciste (radicalmente divers...Luigi Santosuosso
Reductio ad unum: questo mese due dischi e due musiciste (radicalmente diverse) forniscono interessanti illustrazioni del dono della sintesi. Megaphone Heart di Jessica Lurie fonde in modo convincente jazz, rock, country, folk e a tratti ci fa pensare che se il prog avesse avuto questi suoni ci sarebbe veramente piaciuto. Il suadente Silent Movie di Melissa Stylianou fa sembrare del tutto naturale che brani di Joanna Newsome, Vince Mendoza, Jonny Cash, Oscar Hammerstein & Jerome Kern, Paul Simon, Charlie Chaplin e John Taylor possano convivere nel repertorio di un solo CD.
In entrambi i casi c'era il rischio di disperdersi e invece le due musiciste sono riuscite a tirare fuori lavori coerenti dimostrando che a prevalere è la loro visione e non gli stereotipi degli stili e delle fonti interpretate. Poi, siccome purtroppo il mondo del jazz è vittima di altri stereotipi, probabilmente la Stylianou che è una cantante ha davanti a sé un futuro brillante, mentre la Lurie dopo anni di grandi progetti non è ancora osannata come colleghi maschi newyorchesi di minor valore.
Appunti di viaggio: Capo Verde sopravviverà senza problemi alla perdita di Cesaria Evora. Un po' di tempo passato nel negozio di dischi di Praia, ci ha fatto scoprire tanti nomi nuovi (almeno per noi) come quelli di Nancy Viera e Mayra Andrade e meno nuovi come i Voz de Cabo Verde (ormai quasi un Buena Vista Social Club capoverdiano, sia per spirito che età) o Travadinha (che ho sentito piú volte definito come il "Miles Davis" del violino capoverdiano). Peccato essere passati troppo presto per godersi il Kriol Jazz Festival (12-14 aprile).
Figliol prodigo: avevamo perso un po' le tracce di Iain Ballamy e del suo immaginifico sax. Ci ha fatto quindi grande piacere scoprire Indigo Kid (Babel Label), disco d'esordio dell'omonimo gruppo, prodotto dallo stesso Ballamy ma capitanato dal giovane chitarrista Dan Messore. Un incontro tra due generazioni di musicisti che ci fa pensare di nuovo a quanto ci sia da scoprire nella scena britannica, troppo - per forza di cose - insulare e reclusiva. Il sax di Ballamy su "The Man I Love" vale da solo l'acquisto del disco (in uscita verso fine aprile).
Viva gli MP3: che fanno gonfiare il mercato dei CD di seconda mano... così che diventa possibile comprare a pochissimi dollari (a volte centesimi) CD nuovi e meno nuovi di Jeb Bishop, Kip Hanrahan, Michele Rosewoman, Sly Stone, Malcolm Braff, Bobby Previte, Sidony Box, Macy Chen, Talking Cows e decine di altri in alcune mecche dell'usato come Academy Records e Rhino Records.
Quesito esistenziale: quale sfumatura della condizione umana non è stato sintetizzato nelle strofe dell'American Songbook? Si tratta di una scoperta che viene confermata ed allargata ascolto dopo ascolto. L'ultima perla targata Tin Pan Alley che ci è balzata all'orecchio è questo passaggio da "My Foolish Heart" di Ned Washington e Victor Young, nella splendida interpretazione di Tony Bennett contenuta in The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album): "There's a line between love and fascination / That's hard to see on an evening such as this / For they both give the very same sensation / When you are lost in the magic of a kiss". 37 parole raccolte in 4 frasi a rime alternate che sono meglio di un bignami dell'attrazione fatale.
Origami: il bellissimo documentario "Between the Folds", oltre ad affascinare di per sé sorprende per gli incredibili parallelismi tra le correnti e rivalità stilistiche che percorrono l'arte giapponese di piegare la carta come il jazz (o ogni altra forma d'arte): conservatori, sperimentatori, codificatori, rivalità e incomprensioni tra i guru dei vari stili. Vedere le opere dei Zorn e Marsalis della carta piegata risulta illuminante.
Ci mancava solo questa! Hanno messo online gli archivi completi delle registrazioni di Alan Lomax! E pensare che eravamo già indietro di brutto con tutte le cose che dobbiamo ancora ascoltare!
Jessica Lurie Ensemble, Carambrolage, Bolzano
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“Jessica Lurie is considered one of the most exciting interpreters of music today, pushing stylistic...“Jessica Lurie is considered one of the most exciting interpreters of music today, pushing stylistic barriers not simply to ramble from one genre to another, but to construct new musical landscapes, to daydream with an extreme sense of purpose.” Giuseppe Segala, All About Jazz Italy
JESSICA LURIE -- SHOP OF WILD DREAMS (ZIPA)
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Jessica Lurie is a saxophonist, composer, vocalist and bandleader from NYC by way of Seattle. I had...Jessica Lurie is a saxophonist, composer, vocalist and bandleader from NYC by way of Seattle. I had heard of a few of the bands that she's been associated with, but I hadn't heard her name until I stumbled onto the latest disc from her namesake group. Shop of Wild Dreams is her latest, on her own Zipa Music imprint. As fascinating as her playing, writing, arranging and singing is, I'm just as blown away by her sidemen and how fantastic they sound in her group. Her bassist and drummer come from folk-punk Ani DiFranco's band, and keyboardist Erik Deutsch had done time playing with guitarist Charlie Hunter. This is a band that came to play.
Having listened to this disc one track at a time, and as a whole disc from start to finish, it must be stated from the beginning that this is a disc that deserves to be listened to all the way through. No, it's not a long form work, and Lurie makes no claims that it is anywhere in the liner notes, but it is fairly obvious that these songs are all of a piece. Hearing them all in one shot uncovers an ebb and flow to this disc that is so much more than just some standard formulaic textbook placement of tunes, where the ballad is always slotted #3 on the disc and the longest tune is always at the end. Instead, this is a fantastic disc on its own terms.
From the first note of Shop of Wild Dreams, you know you're going to be in for a treat. The first three instruments you hear are a banjo, the feedback of a guitar and a pedal steel. Not exactly standard fare for a jazz album. However, as Number Six (the composition in question) starts to unfold, the end result could be nothing but modern jazz of the highest order, with a melody that snakes around a solid rhythm section that has obviously put in some time together. Number Six really sets up a template for what to expect throughout Shop of Wild Dreams: interesting grooves, melodies that are thoroughly modern - and rockish - in their approach, and a guitarist that deserves his own record deal and fast.
Lurie takes the first of a few vocal turns on I Don't Care If I Don't Care. Lurie's lyrics are actually pretty cool, and it is always great to hear someone attempting to add their two cents to the vocal jazz canon. Sickafoose and Miller set up a cool pseudo-N'Awlins groove here, and it works well. Really well. Again, Seabrook steals the spotlight as soon as he can, and his solo takes a good performance with an awesome groove and turns it into a sublime one. She also sings on Circus Rain, which is pretty close to what its name implies. Its first minute is drenched in sensory overload, with a groove so loose it sounds like it'll fall apart at any moment. Her voice fits the denseness of this song quite a bit better, and of all of the vocal tunes, this one, for all of its strangeness, really works best.
Grinch is latin jazz completely turned on its ear. Sickafoose's bass line on this track sounds like any number of butt-shaking bass lines on Salsa night at the local dance club. But over that bassline, Lurie, Seabrook and Deutsch lay down some psychedelic wickedness that make this tune anything BUT your standard Salsa tune.
There is so much to explore on Shop of Wild Dreams that it cannot possibly be taken in in its entirety on a first listen. This is a knockout disc from first cut to last cut. For those who are familiar with Zach Brock or Matt Ulery, The Jessica Lurie Ensemble is definitely a kindred spirit. Highly recommended.
Jessica Lurie Ensemble:Shop of Wild Dreams February 18th, 2009 by Phishy in JamBand, Music
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By: Dennis Cook Artists that offer one tremendous satisfaction and surprise throughout their ca...
By: Dennis Cook
Artists that offer one tremendous satisfaction and surprise throughout their career are rare. The temptation to embrace a profitable rut is strong, especially in these downturn days. So, with a quiet smile glued to my face, I can report Jessica Lurie is such a rarity, a composer and instrumentalist of gliding power and true invention. Case in point, Shop of Wild Dreams (released in January on Zipa!Music), which begins with the post-bop electricity of the early ’70s Atlantic Records jazz stable and then proceeds to morph through feeling soaked moods dappled with banjo, brass, gutsy singing, elemental soundscapes and emotionally potent observations.
Wild Dreams is some remove from her hard, angular honking in the The Tiptons Sax Quartet or some of Lurie’s more outside festival jamming. For one thing, Lurie has matured into a really interesting, ear-snagging vocalist, buttery but capable of chilled, melted or slightly browned flavorings. “I don’t care/ Just set your heart down anywhere,” she growls on the aptly titled “I Don’t Care If I Don’t Care,” which evokes primo Nancy Wilson given jittery, Monk-ish piano jump by Erik Deutsch and even more jittery electric guitar squall from Brandon Seabrook. In fact, the entire Ensemble - rounded out by Todd Sickafoose (acoustic bass), Allison Miller (drums) and Lurie’s own thick arsenal of alto & tenor sax, flute, accordion and baritone ukulele - is bloody marvelous. Percussionist Elizabeth Pupo-Walker guests on two cuts, and baritone saxophonistTina Richerson appears on one cut. There’s seriously great interplay, and the wide scope of their textures and interests sprinkles interesting bits all over this set. The totality of their playing, in service of continually strong Lurie compositions, makes for a deeply enjoyable listening experience that embodies both the lushness and the strangeness of great jazz-influenced music.
On Shop of Wild Dreams, Lurie and her collaborators exhibit a sophisticated, dare I say, mature approach that readily invites one in and then rewards them richly once they’re in the room. Terrific lyrics, full-bodied production (courtesy of Lurie & Sickafoose), tasty arrangements and bang-up performances throughout, there’s just so much to recommend this quietly turning jewel.
Voice Choices: Jessica Lurie Ensemble
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Jessica Lurie Ensemble: Super -engaging - as in always melodic while never turning dull or corny - a...Jessica Lurie Ensemble: Super -engaging - as in always melodic while never turning dull or corny - almost avant jazz from Seattleites whose saxist-flautist-vocalist has credits ranging from Bill Frisell to Booker T. to Eugene Chadborne to Chuck D. to Sleater Kinney to Indigo Girls to the Balkan band Sheqer. All of whom, judging from her own unit's zip-gunning CD Zipa!Buka!, she seems to have learned lessons from. The noisy numbers, Latin numbers, and dolemen music-like numbers are best. (Eddy)
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With her feet planted in solid jazz technique and her head buoyed by a free-flowing jam-band sensibi...With her feet planted in solid jazz technique and her head buoyed by a free-flowing jam-band sensibility, Seattle's Jessica Lurie is a natural draw for open-minded fans of both genres. On both sax and flute Lurie can sustain impressively rich, compelling solos that stretch deep into Eastern European and post-bop melodic influences while remaining fundamentally groove-oriented. Her current project, the Jessica Lurie Ensemble, unites the nuanced,dynamic guitar of Nels Cline with San Francisco local Scott Amendola's mesmerizing drum work and Todd Sickafoose's versatile bass. Lurie will no doubt be in top form with such an accomplished, virtuoso backing band,so expect some serious fireworks when these four hit it full-steam. (Jonathan Zwickel)
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A FLAME-THROWING SAXOPHONIST who can sustain long solo flights better than just about anyone in town...A FLAME-THROWING SAXOPHONIST who can sustain long solo flights better than just about anyone in town.
Typical set list - 6-8 songs per set. Mainly original songs, with a mixture of avant-garde jazz, folk, and funk, 50% instrumental, 50% with singing. Some covers include songs by Gillian Welch, Fugazi, the Kinks, Lhasa and Led Belly
Sets are typically 50-75 minutes long.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.