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Crossing the Field

Jenny Scheinman

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Album Review

Violinist Jenny Scheinman's instrumental companion recording to her eponymously titled vocal-emphasized effort of the same time period in 2008 is both an opposite reaction to pop styles and an extension of orchestral music with modern-day twists and turns. It reflects her time working with electric guitarist Bill Frisell, who appears on this date, and also gives a bigger picture of her classical influences via a huge string ensemble, while hinting at the modern creative jazz where her violin voicings take a firmer grip at the core. Pianist Jason Moran is a major player on many of the selections, as is drummer Kenny Wollesen, while guests Ron Miles on trumpet and clarinetist Doug Weiselman contribute on select tracks. The music can be serene, broken-hearted, energized, or hopped-up depending on the progression of wide-ranging moods Scheinman and her differently sized groups are able to envision and call forth. Depending on your taste level, the variations are not jarring, but they do offer serious food for thought. Setting this yin/yang tone, "Born into This" is pretty, crystalline, tiptoe music with Frisell and the strings; "I Heart Eye Patch" is a bouncy, romping chase scene; "Three Bits and a Horse" features the trumpet of Miles galloping along via a polka facade; and "That's Delight" is a middling swing with Scheinman's lead violin and Moran's curious piano. The serene string-driven numbers include the slow, symphonic, pastoral "Ana Eco" and "Einsamaller" performed live in concert, while "Ripples in the Aquifer" is reverent and hymnal. Contrasting tracks include the long, funky, jamming street strut "Hard Sole Shoe," loaded up with Moran's crazy piano; the march-cartoon Raymond Scott-styled "The Careeners"; and "Song for Sidiki," with its mix of choppy rhythms, bass clarinet, and folk and Nigerian highlife elements. Scheinman's feature on Duke Ellington's "Awful Sad" is a churchy type blues, and "Processional" features the twangy guitar of Frisell. Their collaboration in the electric guitarist's various groups is best represented during the program's end-game cut, as "Old Brooklyn" wrings out the emotional sponge in a calmed, spiritual fashion for a much larger entity as outlined by Weiselman's pithy clarinet. This effort from Scheinman (who also plays a little piano here and there) is intriguing and seductive from start to finish, fully realized, startlingly beautiful, and rich beyond any of her other recordings. It comes with a most high recommendation. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 08 June 1979 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Violinist, composer, improviser, bandleader, and (yes) singer Jenny Scheinman has been a major force on the Brooklyn creative jazz scene since her arrival in the borough from the West Coast in 1999. She made weekly appearances at the Barbès club in the Park Slope neighborhood when not on tour or involved in other competing projects, using her residency there as a laboratory for trying out a variety of musical approaches and configurations, exploring styles from avant jazz to country-folk singer/songwriter...
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