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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Carolyn Hume - Gravity And Grace (Leo Records, 2008) ****

Not hindered by any knowledge, but seeing the Leo label on the cover, I borrowed this CD by British pianist Carolyn Hume from the library. An album on which she is joined by cellist Oliver Coates and vocalist Sonja Galsworthy, and I was expecting avant-garde jazz in line with the label's musical positioning. My astonishment was great when I heard the music, which is slow, almost classical romantic, dark and melancholy. In truth, it would be better placed on the ECM label, fitting in the same category as Vassilis Tsabropoulos and Anja Lechner: clever and highly sensitive, with superb command of the instruments. Coates' cello adds the additional sentimental sadness to the music, and Galsworthy classically trained voice is stellar in this context: precise, clear as a bell, adding dramatic effect at moments, and beautifully. All Hume's compositions are in the same style, with the cello and the voice adding color once in a while and offering slight changes in perspective, leading to sufficient variation to keep things interesting. This is without a doubt one of the most consistently dark and sad albums that I've ever heard. It will console you when you are in that mood, and if you're not, it will certainly get you there.

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