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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jane Ira Bloom - Mental Weather (Outline, 2008) ***½

I have always liked the music of Jane Ira Bloom, but not too enthusiastically. Her soprano playing is excellent, her use of electronics is adventurous yet controlled, her compositions are creative, melodically and rhytmically more than just interesting, I mean ... it's all there, yet there's something lacking and I can't put my finger on it. Is it not raw enough? Is her music too controlled? Or too cerebral? Or is it too fluid, with insufficient relief (a flowing river rather than cascades or rapids)? This feeling is the same with her new album, which is released in two parts (a digital mp3 version with a continuous performance, and an otherwise identical CD with separate tracks). And it's also not the level of musicianship, which is very high, with Dawn Clement on piano and Fender Rhodes, Mark Helias on bass and Matt Wilson on drums - what a line-up! And Jane Ira Bloom's playing is excellent too, warm, precize, creative. Because it's all so great, post-bop of the highest level, or even at times in a category of her own, I'm sure the problem must reside with me. So, enjoy, because it's good.

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