Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Go Beth Go

Hey you! It's Beth Schenck on the Jazz Session, talking about her fantastic new record with the always excellent Jason Crane.

If you don't know who Beth is, you should. (Hint: she has played a lot with the IJG.)

Here's an excerpt from a press release I wrote for her a few months ago:

Brooklyn-based saxophonist and composer Beth Schenck is proud to present the release of her debut album, What Shock Heard. An introspective, plaintive, and quietly bold recording, Shock documents a set of compositions written during what Schenck calls “an incredibly turbulent time in my life.” In addition to the leader on alto and soprano saxophone, the disc showcases the talents of guitarist Matt Wrobel, tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, drummer Jeff Davis, and bassist Eivind Opsvik; it was recorded live to tape by Andy Tomasi.

The word “shock” in the album title is simultaneously apropos and misleading. The music contained within can indeed be surprising; the melodic contours are sometimes jagged, and the performances are raw. Schenck has stated that she did not want to create a “slick” recording (Shock was recorded without a single overdub or edit) and the resulting sound is that of unprocessed emotion. But it is this same emotional content, effectively conveyed despite the absence of a specific context or back-story, which also makes this music frank, beautiful, and, in the end, strangely peaceful. There is a repetitive, hypnotic intensity to many of the compositions. Many are also constructed episodically (somewhat rare for a small group recording), adding to the sense of an underlying narrative. One might argue that the result is the sound of a soul in crisis and, ultimately, redemption.

Go listen to the music.

[photo credit: Steve Noreyko]

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