Kerry Politzer
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Kerry Politzer

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"BBC review by Peter Marsh"

Kerry Politzer
Watercolor
(Polisonic)

Kerry Politzer's Brazilian tinged debut CD Yearning drew favourable comparisons with fellow pianist Eliane Elias. While that record paired her up with a guitarist and soprano saxophonist as well as rhythm section, Watercolor finds her in the classic piano trio format and proves that Politzer, like Elias, has quite a few strings to her bow (or even her piano).

A reading of Gershwin's "A Foggy Day' aside, these are all Politzer originals and showcase both a strong compositional talent and considerable improvisational flair. None of the pieces exceed 5 and a half minutes, pointing to Politzer's taste for economy.

This extends to her improvising, which is finely and sensitively controlled throughout and ranges from a limpid impressionism worthy of Keith Jarrett or Brad Mehldau (as on the gorgeous "Silent Morning" to playful, angular left hand figures reminiscent of Thelonius Monk ("Watercolor") or vivid, Bud Powell-esque hyperspeed ripples. She swings hard too, as on the Monkish "Whim", where she engages in some impressively fiery exchanges with drummer Scott McLemore. Politzer never seems stuck for ideas either; each solo is carefully constructed, a fine balance of head and heart.

Mclemore and bassist Dan Fabricatore provide sensitive, controlled propulsion, finely in tune with Politzer's writing and responsive to her soloing. Though the bassist is a bit lost in the mix at times, his rapport with the pianist is reminiscent of Eddie Gomez's work with Bill Evans, and he gets a couple of nice solos in too, particularly on "Waiting".

The piano trio seems to be undergoing a bit of a resurgence at the moment, with the likes of Brad Mehldau and Esbjorn Svennson breathing new life into a format that had seemed to reach its apotheosis with Jarrett's Standards Trio. Politzer's undoubted ability as a writer and player should hopefully put her in the same bracket before long. Not an album that will change your life perhaps, but one any serious piano afficionado would do well to check out.

Reviewer: Peter Marsh

- BBC


"High Bias review by Michael Toland"

KERRY POLITZER TRIO
Watercolor
(Polisonic)

Watercolor, the second record from pianist Kerry Politzer, eschews the Brazilian flavors of her first album Yearning for a more straightforward jazz affair. Over a lightly swinging rhythm section, the New England Conservatory-trained composer puts her mellifluous fingers and ear for memorable melody to the service of eleven surefooted originals and a cover of the Gershwins' "Foggy Day." She's as comfortable skipping delicately over the peppy tempos of "Woodpecker" and "Sparks" as she is caressing the keys for ballads like "Whim" and "Waltz For Charlie." The Trio really takes off during "Silent Morning," as bassist Dan Fabricatore and drummer Scott McLemore swing hard, pushing Politzer's fingerings toward overdrive. Interestingly, the band never stretches songs out past their natural lengths, keeping the cuts short and sweet (not to mention fitting a goodly number of them on one disk). Getting the tunes stuck in your head is apparently more important to the Trio than basking in its own improvisational techniques. Politzer's lyrical melodies make Watercolor an irresistibly pleasant way to spend your quality jazz time.

-Michael Toland
- High Bias


"AllAboutJazz.com review by Javier Ortiz"

Quick and to the Point : Classy jazz trio music.

Watercolor features a happy coincidence between title and content. According to the Tallahassee Watercolor Society, the “fleeting effects of nature” are best captured through watercolor’s “inherent luminosity” and “capacity for rapid execution.” The Jazzification of Classical aesthetics one finds in this oeuvre is conceived from conceptual and technical akin views and practices present in both the histories of jazz and watercolor, and well represented herein. A quick perusal of the composition titles will reveal an obvious connection to nature in the composer’s mindful flow à la watercoloring. Unlike other techniques such as oil painting, the physical structuring of transparency in a watercolor image depends just as much on what is left in, as it does on what is taken out. Politzer’s performances and compositions leave enough luminous jazz within Classical gouaches –with short-lived Brazilian insinuations and touches– to warrant immediate recognition as a dear set of rapidly executed musical watercolors. Wisely, she chose several techniques and approaches in her musical work that parallel others in watercolor. The grainy effect achieved through a dry brush technique in watercolor, for example, is musically matched in this recording in some tunes. Wetter and softer brush technical variations are also evident.

On another happy coincidence, there is a close resemblance between Politzer and the model used in “The White Girl,” later renamed “Symphony in White, No. 1,” by James McNeill Whistler –a renowned watercolorist. Whistler reconceived and renamed the painting in musical terms, adding yet another coincidence in this trail of intersecting musical and artistic crossroads. Furthermore, Whistler’s explanation for said painting also parallels the music in Watercolor! According to Mark Harden, in said painting “there was no subject; or, more precisely, the subject is simply that of a model posing in an artist's studio. The painting is a study of purely formal pictorial values. Whistler directed the model to hang her arms listlessly and maintain an expressionless face to ensure the exclusion of narrative. In this manner the work is presented as ‘Art for Art's Sake,’ without reference to anything outside itself.” The 12 tunes Politzer recorded could be similarly described, albeit with some important distinctions. Politzer, just to highlight one of those dissimilarities, does have plenty to narrate with her swinging and effective playing. In that regard, she does say quite a bit even when the mood is not towards energetic forms.

That Politzer and Whistler can be spoken about together ought to say much about her music, as the artistic legacy of North American watercolorists is quite valuable.

~ Javier Antonio Quiñones Ortiz
- Allaboutjazz.com


"Improvisajazzation Nation review by -Rotcod Zzaj"

Kerry Politzer Trio - WATERCOLOR: Hearing some very nice piano (Kerry) in the forefront of this cool lil' jazz CD (in from B&K Communications, the promoter), along with bass by Dan Fabricatore & drums by Scott McLemore. Her keyboard style is precise and her touch firm on these all (but one) original compositions, but she makes it sound effortless; true talent being displayed here. The trio plays straight-ahead jazz with ultra high energy and spirit... this is the kind of stuff you would hear Friday & Saturday nights at your favorite local jazz club (not th' country club, but th' downtown & out smoke-filled room kind of thing). I was particularly enchanted with cut 2, "Sparks", for the bright colors displayed. Super quality recording, with each instrument highlighted when appropriate. Track 11, "Simmer", is another favorite listen for me, a bubbly and shining free spirit composition that has a really great bass solo by Dan & displays the trio dynamic better than some of the other pieces (I thought). Kerry's playing is loose & free throughout, star rising for sure... very listenable, gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz fans the world 'round!

-Rotcod Zzaj - Improvisajazzation Nation


"Keyboard Magazine review by Mark Vail (2/03)"

Kerry Politzer is a an exciting, and often dazzling, jazz pianist who plays with precision, spirit, and freedom. Watercolor is Politzer's second album as a leader, and she's tastefully backed by bassist Dan Fabricatore and drummer Scott McLemore. She composed all but one of the 12 tracks, and I really enjoy her playful sense of phrasing and song construction. I'm especially thrilled by her introspective turn at George and Ira Gershwin's "A Foggy Day", as well as her whimsical and invigorating "Silent Morning." It's been quite a while since I found such a delightful piano trio recording as this.

-Mark Vail - Keyboard Magazine


"Times Colonist Victoria review by Joseph Blake (21/22/02)"

Pianist Kerry Politzer's Watercolor is her second CD as a leader and follows the Boston-area musician's Brazil-inspired debut with a collection of surprise-filled original writing and playing.

Politzer's trio demonstrates an impressively elastic, intuitive sense of swing. The pianist's advanced harmonic conceptions and concise abstractions on her original melodies and a thoughtful reading of A Foggy Day underline the emergence of a budding jazz talent.

The pianist's solos are a study in balance, shifting shadow-like from jagged tangent to transcendent calm with an economy and assuredness that is at once thrilling and addictive.
- Times Colonist Victoria


"eJazznews.com review by George Carroll"

CD Reviews: Kerry Politzer ''Watercolor'' Posted by: Adminon Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 12:02 AM <br> <br>Truly in the tradition of mainstream jazz....<br><br>Kerry Politzer's new disc ''Watercolor'' on Polisonic immediately suggests one is entering into that musical arena that transcends the 'normal.' I am assuming that some of the renditions are solely original, & if so, kudos to Politzer for introducing us to a new chapter of gainful & lovely music.<br><br>The group has all it can do to 'lay back'<br>as it reveals & interprets the depths of the composer's soul. Politzer's pianistic style challenges the traditional structure of 'form' thus exposing his artistic strength by default. Let's hope that fine jazz musicians like Politzer continue to ''pursue the experiment'' as it were with a finite perseverance, and that this artistic determination<br>never ceases to be deprived of vitality. <br><br>George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman<br> <br> - eJazznews.com


"Audiophile review by John Henry"

Kerry Politzer Trio - Polisonic 01:

In the first of her self-published CDs pianist Politzer focused on Brazilian music and was compared to the great Elaine Elias. On this her second album, she presents 11 of her own tunes plus Gershwin's A Foggy Day in a more standard jazz piano trio format. Her tunes are melodically inventive and demonstrate a versatile range of styles and moods. Her playing is economical and sensitive, as was Bill Evans'. The lyrical Silent Morning boasts a lovely solo, but on tunes such as Sparks Politzer can swing with the best of them, and with fine support from her rhythm section. Tracks: Watercolor, Sparks, Early Spring Chill, A Foggy Day, Whim, Waiting, Woodpecker, Silent Morning, Waltz for Charlie, Identity, Simmer, Green Light.

- John Henry

- Audiophile


Discography

Watercolor (2002) - Kerry Politzer Trio
Yearning (2001) - Kerry Politzer Quartet

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Pianist and composer Kerry Politzer graduated from the New England Conservatory in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music, Concentration in Jazz. She also studied classical music for fourteen years, attending the North Carolina School of the Arts. Her composition “Tug Of War” won an Honorable Mention in the 2003 International Songwriting Competition. Her composition "Begin The Baião" won Third Prize, Jazz Category in the 2000 Mid-Atlantic Song Competition and it was a Semi-Finalist in the 2003 International Songwriting Competition. In 1999 Kerry’s composition "Revelation" won an Honorable Mention in the 2000 Mid-Atlantic Song Competition. “Revelation” and “Begin The Baião” also won Honorable Mentions in the 2000 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

In May 2003, Kerry attended the Banff Jazz Workshop, performing in master classes and shows with Mike Murley and Mark Turner. In March 2002, Kerry’s Brazilian repertoire ensemble performed at the Wave Hill Concert Series in Riverdale, New York. In March 2001, Kerry was chosen to play solo piano at the SESAC Annual Awards Ceremony held at the Supper Club. In 1998, Kerry performed at New York City's Blue Note Jazz Club with singer Dianne Schuur and big band DIVA. In 1996 she was a runner-up in the American Pianists Association 3rd Biennial Jazz Piano Competition. Her debut CD, "Yearning", which received four stars from All Music Guide, is available on the Consolidated Artists Productions label. She released a second CD, “Watercolor”, on her own Polisonic label. Presently Kerry can be seen in various performances around the greater New York City area with her modern jazz trio, her Brazilian repertoire quartet, and her quintet.

“Politzer never seems stuck for ideas; each solo is carefully constructed, a fine balance of head and heart.”
Peter Marsh, BBC

"Another great female writer/performer on a par with the great Eliane Elias…"
Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide

"Politzer's music has considerable pizzazz. She is a spirited artist whose concepts of the Brazilian music scene are vividly portrayed through her compositions and playing. She is in touch with the land of the samba."
Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine