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Jane Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets / The Blade review

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The first thing listeners notice about soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom is her gorgeous tone. But on this disc - her 15th album as a bandleader and her first devoted exclusively to ballads - there's something equally beautiful about her musical vision and interpretation.

Nine of the 14 songs are American songbook classics; the other five are Bloom originals. Many have a wayward, peaceful serenity to them while captivating listeners with a style developed by a woman renowned jazz critic Bill Milkowski has described as "a restlessly creative spirit, and a modern day role model for any aspiring musician who dares to follow his or her own vision."

Bloom, who has performed at most of New York's most prestigious concert halls, is a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, a winner of the Downbeat International Critics Poll for soprano saxophone, and a multiple winner of the Jazz Journalists Award for Soprano Sax of the Year. - TOM HENRY