Addicted to listening to Threading for a while now this chamber-jazz ensemble offering is a major surprise at least to me: lots of woodwinds and strings added in don’t necessarily raise the bar bitter experience has often indicated.
With players including clarinet star Anat Cohen, alto/soprano saxist Will Vinson and drummer Matt Wilson, vocal guests Alan Hampton and Jo Lawry, reedist Brian Landrus and trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis plus three cellists deepening the sound, their cool, quasi Leonard Bernstein-type sound in the ensemble textures of ‘Lost and Found’ drift away into the mystery of the music time and time again almost beyond grasp.
Mainly Lev-Ari’s own tunes and lyrics, the hugely talented leader on piano, recorded at New York studio Sear Sound over a couple days of late-May last year, the album opens with the former Bob Brookmeyer student’s title track and contains two equally convincing versions of a very popular standard at the moment, ‘Goodbye’. This Gordon Jenkins song is treated so tantalisingly in a Chet-ian manner by Hampton the vocal version cropping up three tracks in and then again at the end featuring Anat Cohen with Hekselman doing the most beautiful high-register introduction to state the main melody.
Of the rest of the selections ‘Voices’ is more about jolting exclamation marks; ‘Black Crow’ not the Joni song in case you were wondering, instead a strings and woodwinds-led Lev-Ari original; and ‘E and A,’ another gem, is an indulgent slow waltz of a thing full of little bluesy indentations and indefinite charm. Even the less successful below-the-floorboards low note-flavoured rumble of the showy vocal duet-led ‘The Dance’ contributes to an album that will continue to stay on my CD player for a long time to come. SG
Released on 28 April