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Jane Ira Bloom - Wild Lines, Improvising Emily Dickinson makes DownBeat - Hot Box for November 2017

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★★★ 1/2

Not unlike the hermetic poet Emily Dickinson, whose work presumably inspired or is some- how represented in this music, Jane Ira Bloom doesn't tell us much about her intentions here, other than to o er a rather cryptic subtitle: "Improvising Emily Dickinson."

What we do have are two CDs. e rst is a collection of 14 "original" chamber pieces-I'll explain the quotes presently-with an unex- plained appearance at the end by Richard Rodgers on "It's Easy To Remember." It's love- ly work indeed from one of our nest soprano saxophonists. Some tunes have the bravado of a fanfare. Others have a somber re ective quality.

But then there's the second CD, which is a bit of a puzzle. Each of the 14 pieces is repeat- ed virtually verbatim along with brief, tacked- on bites of Dickinson poetry read with inti- mate elegance by Deborah Rush. But without a bridge between the music and the recita- tion, it all becomes something of doleful home- work assignment associating one to the other through some thread of intent. 

Then there's the "original" music. Yes, it's all the work of Bloom-except that half the piec- es ("Other Eyes," "Singing e Triangle," "Mind Gray River," "Big Bill," three others) are peeled o her previous album, Early Americans, which was equally lovely but opaque in its intentions. Not to be too critical, but if this music is intended to con- vey Emily Dickinson, what was half of it doing on an unrelated project? -John McDonough