Friday, February 21, 2014

More from Kazzrie Jaxen

As I mentioned earlier the music of Kazzrie Jaxen has been pumping out of the speakers of late.

Released in late 2013, A Million Shimmering Fish (New Artists Records NA1057) comes from a 2010 duo concert with writer Mark Weber at the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The album draws largely from the first set - the 10-part poem sequence "Undulations Water & Clouds." For the most part, the format has Mark speaking followed Kazzrie freely improvising with exceptions being parts 3 & 5, where Kazzrie improvises as Mark speaks. At first I was a little disappointed with the lack of concurrent playing, but I was soon drawn into it and the sense of space it gave the album as a whole. The breaks following the poems had me waiting in anticipation for the surprises Kazzrie had in store (her playing is breathtaking).
Part 3, "On Breathing Down The Spine" also appears on Live at The Stone/NYC (New Artists Records 1046) with Mark appearing alongside the Connie Crothers Quartet.
The last four pieces come from the concert's second set - one solo piano piece ("Catharsis"), two pieces that feature Kazzire's vocals (in addition to piano) along with text from Mark ("Timebounce" & "How Deep Is The Ocean") and a delightfully fun encore. An engaging duo.

Mark has posted about the concert and the album (including the text for "Undulations") along with photographs on his blog - I wonder if the 2nd set (Kazzrie solo) will get released?

My introduction to Kazzrie's music came via the New Artists Records sampler disc which contains "Shine The Warrior's Heart" from her 1998 solo piano album For The Beauty Of The Earth (New Artists Records NA1030). I picked up not too long after hearing the sampler disc.

Around that time (2003 & early 2004) some albums that had plenty of repeated listens included:
Richard Tabnik - In The Moment (NA1015) and Life At The Core (NA1016). The trio and quartet albums that I discovered by chance at Tower Records online (if you can imagine that!).
Connie CrothersPerception (SCCD31022)
Connie Crothers Quartet Ontology (New Artists NA1035)
These two albums of Connie's would accompany me on late night walks from Newtown over to Lyall Bay.
Lenny Popkin - Self-titled trio album on Lifeline Records (LR101) with Rich Califano (b) and Carol Tristano (d)
I was living in a flat with three other musicians and I remember them all being into trumpeter Terence Blanchard at the time. They had a live recording of his group that went on to record Bounce for Blue Note (I think it was from an IAJE performance that one of them went to). For whatever reason, it just didn't grab me. However, the half a dozen albums listed above did.

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