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Jane Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets / Jazzmozaiek review

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Finally another acoustic melodic "emo" album amidst all that industrious experimentation with grooves, electronics, and "outside" playing. After the genuine Boston jazz lady's Wingwalker album, comes a new pearl of a CD. Jane Ira Bloom's absolute mastery of the soprano sax (unbelievably strong and multi-faceted intonation plus her own personal sound on this instrument) has apparently not sufficiently attracted the attention of most festival promoters here, thus we miss seeing her on European stages. Bloom has chosen for a ballads album, in which she's placed six of her own compositions between an anthology of golden standards from the archives of Gershwin, Van Heusen, Fisher, Arlen, Mercer, Kern, Weill, and Waldron. Understand that making an album entirely of ballads is every bit as risky as the stubbornest experimental project, and while this disk doesn't elicit the "sparks of electricity" created by "Wingwalker", this album is made up of incredible moments of heavenly musicality. Bloom's compositions are always beautiful stories, here very successfully integrated into the standard repertoire, and she very often goes for emotion. She transforms the originally swinging tunes "The Way You Look Tonight" and "But Not For Me" into unctuous rubato pieces, and along with pianist Dominic Fallacaro, she delivers a haunting solo on Mal Waldron and Billie Holiday's "Left Alone." Also note that this CD has also been released in Hi-Res Surround Sound on Pure Audio Records and that that version has also earned a Grammy nomination. -Chris Joris