Stories » Jane Ira Bloom's 'Wild Lines' is melodic, slinky, gently fizzy, and goes down easy / blogcritics

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Jane Ira Bloom's 'Wild Lines' is melodic, slinky, gently fizzy, and goes down easy / blogcritics

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Also in 2017, adventurous soprano sax artist Jane Ira Bloom forayed into spoken-word with Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson. A set of understated jazz compositions inspired by poems by the Belle of Amherst, the release comes in two flavors: the music-only Disc 1, and the same pieces in a different order accompanied by actor Deborah Rush reading the poems on Disc 2. The riff-rich music, melodic, slinky, and gently fizzy, goes down easy, like a Dave Brubeck or Bill Evans set. But it's also the work of a virtuoso of that most marvelous of instruments, the listener's brain. It makes you stop and think. Flowing under Bloom's characteristic smoky sound, pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Mark Helias, and Bobby Previte on drums churn out lively beats and motifs with an almost palpable sense of joy, a feast for jazz aficionados and newcomers alike. Rush's readings on Disc 2 clarify the music's inspiration, though they're too dainty for my taste, too in line with the common and mistaken conception of Dickinson as a fragile, shrinking flower. On the other hand, they are spare and not intrusive; they don't detract from the music. Lovers of both poetry and jazz may well like these versions even more than the straight instrumentals.

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