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Whispers

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Album Review

A press release that Delvian Records sent out with Whispers described this 2005 release as "a film score awaiting a film." All too often, labels get so caught up in their own hype that they make statements in press releases that are far removed from reality. But in the case of Whispers, the phrase "a film score awaiting a film" does have some validity; there are times when this 54-minute CD — like a lot of new age releases — really does sound like it could be used as a soundtrack for some type of European art film. But Whispers isn't new age in the strict sense; actually, the music that acoustic pianist/composer Wendy Loomis and flutist Monica Williams (who comprise the Bay Area duo Phoenix Rising) provide on this disc is essentially acoustic post-bop jazz that has been influenced by European classical and chamber music as well as some of the more substantial new age recordings. Whispers can, at times, be slightly avant-garde, but for the most part, Loomis and Williams are lyrical and fairly accessible — and the type of jazz improvisers who have had the greatest influence on this duo are folks like Keith Jarrett and Ahmad Jamal, not radically avant-garde free jazz agitators. Despite being an American duo and having a lot of American influences, Phoenix Rising often projects a European quality; again, it isn't hard to imagine parts of this album being used in an artsy film from Spain, Italy, Belgium, or France. Although a bit uneven, Whispers has more ups than downs and indicates that Phoenix Rising is worth keeping an eye on.

Whispers, PHOENIX RISING
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