Jazz


You might peg New Hampshire-based musician Deborah Wyndham as a jazz pianist at first; after all, her album Tenderly radiates with the soulfulness of jazz. However, there is a crystalline elegance to her playing that more than suggests the spectre of classical music. If the idea of listening to another album of piano covers bores you to tears, you might want to hear Wyndham’s work to see it done well.

Julian Wilson: How long have you been playing the piano?

Wyndham: On and off for about 20 years, professionally for eight. As a teen I didn’t play much at all and almost forgot how to play once. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but I was barely hanging on by one thin thread called “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

Wilson: What were the compositions that you learned first?

Wyndham: Some kind of march, I can’t remember, but my teacher didn’t mess around and soon had me playing Bach.

WIlson: What is the jazz scene like in New Hampshire?

Wyndham: What jazz scene? (Laughs.) Well, Boston is where you’d go for live music if you’re in New Hampshire, and I think they do a pretty good job there. I recently saw some big names and of course there is a lot of popular music schools in the area.

Wilson: What other genres of music do you listen to?

Wyndham: Currently, I listen to mostly mellow stuff like ’70s soft rock. I like ethereal pop/rock music, European bands, and jazz fusion, but mostly older stuff, not much past 1985. I’ve listened to very little jazz and like listening to silence since I play so much.

Wilson: Are you considering diving into other styles?

Wyndham: Yes, even though I don’t play classical music and therefore fall more into the jazz category, I actually don’t consider myself a jazz pianist as in what jazz pianists are considered nowadays. My style has more of a classical sound, though, encompassing many styles including contemporary, jazz, and jazz-influenced modern classical (the best way to describe my own compositions).

http://deborahwyndham.com

Reviewed by Julian Wilson

LambBone/Wild Man

It took me a couple of spins to get the hang of LambBone. The self-proclaimed Wild Man of the title, John Lamb isn’t kidding around. Wild Man sounds like what Steely Dan would’ve recorded under the influence of some Summer of Love fumes. Lamb is out of control, slapping together parts of jazz, psychedelia (check out the spaced-out Moog on the title track), Beatles-esque classic rock, Latin pop, and funk. Yet, somehow, someway, Lamb manages to weave the car crash together into a quirky one-man symphony. And who said rock & roll has lost its power to stun, to surprise?

Thankfully, Wild Man is no exercise in studio-musician excess. Lamb isn’t throwing everything into the mix but the kitchen sink just for the sake of it. There are some terrific songs hiding beneath Lamb’s seemingly experimental collages of rhythm and melody. The enigmatic “Object of Desire” has an infectiously toe-tapping beat while the kiss-off “News” disguises its knife-sharp words with percolating tropical grooves. Even the instrumental, “John’s Theme,” moves the heart as well as the mind. It might take a little patience, but Wild Man rewards the ears with every listen.

http://www.lambbone.com

Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Mary Fakhoury/Universal Worlds

The Universal Worlds of Mary Fakhoury is probably referring to the stylish leaps on this five-track EP. Actually, Fakhoury does more than just hop from one style to another; it’s like she transforms into different artists completely, a chameleon who is even more unpredictable than David Bowie and Madonna. How so? Fakhoury opens the disc with a cover of the immortal “Someone to Watch Over Me”; personally, I’m burned out on this track, having heard it a million times and covered by just as many artists. However, I was captivated by Fakhoury’s vocal delivery. There is a prettiness to her longing that gives the moldy standard a fresh coat of polish. After the piano-laden French number “La Vie En Rose,” Fakhoury startles us with “El-Donia,” a Middle Eastern dance track with icy synthesizers and a spellbindingly ethereal beat. 

If the transition from American jazz to classic French pop to Arabic disco wasn’t jarring enough, Fakhoury enters the hip-hop field with “Playa in My Life.” It’s on “Playa on My Life” wherein Fakhoury seems a little uncomfortable; it rolls like an experiment, an artist seeing what she is and is not capable of doing. One can see why it was done, but Fakhoury excels when the words and arrangements match the loving craftsmanship in her singing.

http://cdbaby.com/cd/fakhoury2