Jane Ira Bloom - Wild Lines, Improvising Emily Dickinson makes / Stereogum review
Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom's latest is a two-CD set inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and perhaps more importantly by Bloom's discovery that Dickinson was a pianist and an improviser. She has written 14 compositions, which appear on the first disc as instrumentals, and on the second accompanied by readings from Dickinson by actress Deborah Rush (Carol Chapman on Orange Is The New Black). The music has nothing of the 19th century about it - pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Bobby Previte swing hard, though they frequently break down into abstraction (but not free jazz). Bloom's soprano playing is more clarinet-like than squawky, minimizing the soprano's more obnoxious qualities. And the instrumental and vocal versions of each piece are often very different from each other. The instrumental of "One Note From One Bird" features a strutting, thumping Previte drum line, and Bloom's solo flutters and bounces around, with occasional zooming long tones that almost sound fed through a pedal. When Rush introduces the second version, though, she's accompanied by melancholy solo piano, and it's Clement who dominates the subsequent improvisation.