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Sand Underfoot

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Album Review

Some people like their female jazz singers torch song-like, while others go for the divas. But perhaps you have a sweet spot for flexible voices that remain natural sounding (instead of trying to cram unlikely amounts of feeling in every syllable), along with a fondness for singers who have mastered extended techniques and who have the gracefulness to leave ample room to their musicians. If so, then Jeannette Lambert should fill that sweet spot wonderfully well. Sand Underfoot is a top-notch session involving the singer's husband, drummer Michel Lambert, and two avant-garde jazz legends in bassist Barre Phillips and pianist Paul Bley. The four of them appear as a quartet on only one track, the entirely improvised "Théo's Pace." The other 12 pieces feature various smaller lineups, ranging from an a cappella song and percussion solos to various duos and trios, some of them without the singer. The undisputable standout track is "Sand Underfoot," a sweet, almost naïve song starting as a vocals/drum duo, with Bley stepping in halfway through. It sums up all of this album's delicateness, creativity, and telepathic interaction. Other highlights include "Endless Walk," featuring the same trio, the bass/drums duo "Mountain Slide," and the four-part suite "Rim of Fire," built around a moving poem about Indonesia. Despite its cast of experienced improvisers and its "instant composition" qualities, Sand Underfoot remains firmly anchored in jazz, if only by Jeannette Lambert's deep understanding of jazz singing and Michel Lambert's flexible free swing, so there is no need to be afraid. The enhanced portion of the CD includes a home movie for the title track. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A very versatile singer, Jeannette Lambert's career has found her singing everything from standards and ballads to engaging in very adventurous improvisations. Her warm voice makes even the most forbidding music seem more accessible than expected. Jeannette Schwager was born to Dutch and Indonesian parents who loved jazz. In addition, her brother is jazz guitarist Reg Schwager. From the age of 12, she performed with her brother at coffee houses and music festivals. She did not have to venture far...
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Sand Underfoot, Jeannette Lambert
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