CD REVIEW : NEW ISSUE
ARTIST: KERRY POLITZER
TITLE: BELOW THE SURFACE
LABEL: PICE 016
TUNES: TWO WORLDS / DILEMMA / MOMENT OF CLARITY / BELOW THE SURFACE / MEANDERING / EMPTY HOUSE / SECOND THOUGHTS / ECHO SAYS / IF YOU KNEW / IN SPRING. 53:39.
PERSONNEL: Politzer – p; David Valdez – as; Thomas Barber – tpt; Andrea Niemiec – b; George Colligan – d.; Precon City, OR. 9/2013.
Pianist / composer Kerry Politzer is based in Portland, Oegon. Below The Surface is her sixth album. Her earlier albums betrayed a Brazilian influence and (obvious) comparisons were made to Elaine Elias. She made an unexpected detour to singer/songwriter territory with her fourth album, You Took Me In which seemed a bit out of place. But with Below The Surface she seems back into solid jazz territory and it's all for the better.
The Brazilian influence seems to have been dampened but she still retains a strong melodic core that characterized her earlier work. For this date she has assembled a quintet with a sax/trumpet frontline that clearly enjoys playing her compositions. Their playing is very simpatico, especially trumpet player Barber who plays with a strong tone with a slight edge to it that fits the music. She's provided them with interesting material. The tunes move in unexpected ways. "Two Worlds" is a prime example its stuttering theme played over an unusual ostinato figure in the piano that seems almost to work in opposition to the horn line. And somewhere in there is a tempo shift for four measures. But it all seems to work and doesn't sound contrived. The rhythm section is also closely attuned to the music maneuvering the shifts and changes in character with ease. Oddly though, the track that caught my ears the most is the closing "In Spring". Less than two minutes, it almost encapsulates the entire album with its unexpected chord changes, drifting flow and unusual melody that lures the listener. It indicates that perhaps a solo album would be a nice follow up.
CD review from Volume 41, No. 1: January issue
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