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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Yvonne Rogers - Seeds (Relative Pitch, 2023)


Yvonne Rogers is a pianist living and working out of Brooklyn, NY. She is originally from coastal Maine, educated in Europe, and composer of possibly the most unusual set of music to be released on the Relative Pitch label in a long time. No, it is not because it pushes the listener to the outer edges of sound, rather it is the opposite. Seeds is an accessible recording, by design, that brings together engaging melodies and often minimalist passages with Iago Fernández's spacious drumming and Nadav Erlich's supportive bass playing, and topping it off with the crystalline voice of Emmanuelle Bonnet.

The opening track 'I. Seeds' begins with a repetitive, syncopated phrase from the piano, which is soon augmented by Bonnet's beatific world-less vocals. As the tune continues Rogers and Bonnet's lines diverge, giving space for the atonalities that develop and keeps the music from falling into something too comfortable. The melody is grabbing and the uptempo pulse moves it along, until the second track 'II. Earth,' which finds the voices of the drums and bass more prominent. Rogers revisits bits of the previous main melody and transform them, spinning off new repetitive phrases until reaching the fittingly titled 'III. Slow Song,' which introduces the first hint of lyrics.

Later in the recording, the tracks 'Untitled Situation' and 'Abundance'  are purely instrumental examples of the trio in action. The first builds quickly from a succinct melodic fragment into a dense motivated passage. Then, decomposing, the musical space is opened up again and Rogers melodic lines begin weaving and waving about in the rhythmic winds. 'Abundance' is  upbeat, beginning with Erlich and Fernandez establishing a lithe, moving foundation, over which Rogers places rich, open chords. The album ends with a bit of a departure from the other tracks in the form of (essentially) a pop song – and it is quite good. 'Open Windows' begins slowly with some austere plunks on the piano and bass, gaining momentum when Bonnet enters with words celebrating growing up and taking off through an open window.

Seeds is an auspicious debut, containing many musical possibilities and presenting a fresh, new voice on piano. Listen to and purchase on Bandcamp.


joe.po said...

... even if it's different, but the mood reminds me of recordings by Joana Molina ... very interesting and I continue to observe where this musical journey is going on. Thank you for introducing us.